A six-hour fight against cancer takes place on the track at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park as the Relay for Life returns June 8.
The annual Canadian Cancer Society event is a fundraiser that finishes with teams taking it in turns to walk, run, or jog around the track from 6 p.m. to midnight.
This year, there are a number of changes and some new features, said Miranda Tracy, the event’s organizer for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“We are going to have a marketplace this year,” Tracy said. A number of vendors will be set up in the track oval.
In addition to those, there will be plenty to do, as there always is.
In addition to the jazzercise and zumba that helps kick off the event and keep the kinks out, Langley Tae Kwon Do will offer demonstrations and lessons, particularly for the youngsters in the crowd.
A kids tent with crafts and facepainting will add to the family-friendly atmosphere.
For those tired of simply walking in circles, there will be a bigger challeng in the form of an inflatable “Wipeout” game. A huge swining bar pivots around and participants have to jump over it or be knocked down on each pass.
The Relay for Life demonstrates a commitment to keep going in the quest to find cures and better treatments for cancer.
But the hard work by the participants will have been done in the weeks leading up to the big event.
Each team fundraises, some almost year round, bringing in money from everything from garage sales and car washes to pub nights and simply passing the hat around homes and workplaces.
The start of every event is reserved for some special participants – cancer survivors.
Every cancer survivor who wants to take part can come down and get decked out in a special yellow T-shirt. The survivors take the first lap of the event at the kickoff just after 6 p.m. In recent years, they’ve had the chance to bang a large gong at the end of their lap.
After that, the teams take off – including cancer survivors, friends, family, and
Two food trucks and the Fort Langley Lions concession will help keep the walkers and runners fuelled on their trips around the track.
And at 11 p.m. there will be free turkey chili handed out by J.D. Farms.
It wouldn’t be Relay for Life without some more serious events.
Every year, a survivor speaker shares a story about their diagnosis, treatment, and life after cancer. This year, Tanya Verbeek will speak to the crowds before the event begins.
At 10 p.m., luminaries will be lit around the edge of the track and in the grandstands.
The luminaries are simple white paper bags with candles inside. Those around the track are often dedicated to specific people who have lost their lives to cancer. Those walking the track decorate the bags with their names and messages for their lost loved ones.
A silent lap is held as the lights of the track are doused and the candles provide the only illumination in remembrance.
There are 31 teams taking part this year, witha goal of raising $140,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society, said Tracy. More than $48,000 has already been donated, and teams will be completing more donations over the next week or bringing cheques to the event.
“Obviously, we’d love people to come down and participate,” she said.
For more information, visit the Langley Relay for Life website.