Sioux Lookout Relay for Life raises more than $16,000
Tim Brody - Associate Editor
The Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event made its return to Sioux Lookout last Friday.
Organized and hosted by the Free the Children leadership group at Queen Elizabeth District High School (QEDHS), the 12 hour fundraising event ran from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at QEDHS.
Seven teams took part in the event, including three teams from QEDHS, an MNRF FireRangers team, and a team from Fresh Market Foods.
Students from QEDHS, Sioux Mountain Public School, and Sacred Heart School also took part along with community members.
The event celebrated cancer survivors, remembered those we’ve lost, and raised more than $16,000 to fight all types of cancer through world-class research, services for patients and their families, cancer prevention initiatives and advocacy on cancer related issues.
Free the Children group member Jessica Darling, a Grade 11 student shared, “A lot of people came out. I feel it went really well.”
She further commented, “It was really rewarding to see the product of our hard work. It had been in the works for months”
Many members of the Free the Children group said they and their families had been touched by cancer and they wanted to bring the event back to the community.
QEDHS teacher Beth Dasno works with the Free the Children group and was the relay event experience coordinator.
She shared, “It was unanimous. We have about 15 kids in that group and all of the hands went up when asked. With cancer, it’s something that’s completely unifying. It doesn’t matter what gender you are, it doesn’t matter what economic bracket, it doesn’t matter where you live in the world; everybody is touched by cancer.”
“I think it was a great success,” Dasno, a cancer survivor, said of the event.
Free the Children students and staff members led the opening lap.
“Just looking back behind us and seeing a whole bunch of students from Queen Elizabeth, from Sioux Mountain and from Sacred Heart Schools, probably totalling about 500 people behind us, taking up a good two thirds of the track, it was phenomenal,” Dasno said.
Sioux Mountain Public School students sold luminaries as a fundraiser for the event. Sacred Heart School students sold freezies and donated proceeds to Relay for Life.
At QEDHS, several classes ran activities during the event such as a watermelon eating contest and mini-manicures and face painting.
Other activities included Zumba and a silent auction, which raised $4740 thanks to donations from local businesses and community members.
Master of ceremonies Jason Bailey provided music and karaoke fun.
The event also included a cancer survivors’ victory lap and reception and head shave event.
Luminaries lined the track in memory of cherished friends and family members lost to the disease. Luminaries also honoured those battling cancer and those who have beaten the disease.
Bailey shared, “I would first like to say hats off to the staff, students, and Free the Children group of Queen Elizabeth High School Sioux Lookout for their hard work and effort in organizing the 2018 Relay for Life. “There are many reasons why I supported the Relay for Life this year. Many of the reasons are personal, and some of the reasons are professional. At the age of 14 years my wife Ronda Bailey lost her mother to cancer. I lost my grandfather when I was a child; and most recently, the night before relay, many of us were impacted by the loss of a dear friend and family member Patricia Michelin. As a professional DJ/MC and Social Service Worker, I MC the Relay for Life event with the outmost care and compassion for the survivors, fundraisers, and community members taking part. The relay is about remembrance, social movement, community and celebration. It’s an honour being part of a team effort to create such a great event.”
Sioux Lookout resident Tina Schofield raised a total of $2244 for her head shave, which she did in honour of her father.
The event’s top fundraising team was Fresh Market Foods, raising $4000 which included monies raised through Schofield’s head shave.
Cherie Coulombe of Chez Cherie Hair Salon donated her professional services for the haircuts.
“We had students; we had some people from our homeless community come up to get their hair shaved. It just represented all walks of life, all different folks that make up our community. It brought so much joy to me seeing the diversity of people that were going up there and the inspiration that Tina triggered. It was really empowering,” Dasno concluded.