This past Friday (June 17-18), Team Darrel participated in the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay For Life in Fergus. Being the fourth time doing so, there weren't as many surprises as in the past, but there still were a few. While the clouds were not looking very promising mid afternoon, by the time the majority of the people began arriving, we had clear blue skies, and alot of relieved faces of all involved. While the event goes rain or shine, and/or hot or cold (we've certainly had some of each over the years), the weather can play a big role in how the night unfolds.
I was happy that both Kira and Lauren had friends that were either part of our team, or were volunteerring at the Relay. While there are lots of fun and light-hearted games and activities that take place through the night, there are also segments that can be emotional, and often take there toll on us all at different times and in different ways. Having close non family
members to be with them through those tougher times is a blessing and is a healthy part of
the healing process. Either way, 12 hours is a long to keep younger people occupied and out of their parent's hair (or what little I have left of it).
As always, the Fergus Pipe Band led the Survivor's Lap around the course track encircled by the yet to be lit luminaries. While many of the individuals were the same as years previous, there were unfortunately were some people no longer with us, and the equally sobering fact that there were also numerous additions to those present. You can see the determination and perserverance in many of their eyes as they pass by those of us cheering them on. The fact that there were any youung face is both a blessing and distressing. I know first hand that there are far too many cases out there of Childhood Cancer, and the fact there are so few 'survivors' to take part in such events makes me uneasy at times.
Even though the Relay itself starts at 7PM, it isn't until the Luminary Lighting Ceremony at around 10PM that the reality of it all set in. From out of the darkness, hundreds of tiny candles begin to flicker and glow around the track, each representing a life where cancer has been an unwelcome and significant intruder. As Team Captain, I was fortunate to help light many of the luminaries, including a few of Darrel's. It may not seem like much to many
of you, but it certainly is/was important to me.
While much of the night continued as in the past, there was a new 'Fight Back' ceremony that was held. Each team had earlier been given a wood plank and told to write all the cancers that had touched the lives of members. Later on, team representatives were called onto the stage to watch the local karate club break the board, thereby showing cancer it could and would be defeated. Beacuse this had not been done before, it was special and unique. I'm sure if this is repeated next year, it won't feel quite the same, but there are always those in
the crowd joining the event for the first time.
The Cancer Society has not released the final totals yet, but Relay Night they announced Fergus had raised at least $76,000 this year!!!! Considering the size of our area, that makes the amount even more impressive. Our team came in 7th Place with just under $2800 in contributions collected (an extra $60 was also donated for The James Fund)! It was another amazing night, and I look forward to being a part of the Relay again next year.
Team Darrel 2011 was: Stephen Robb, Kira Robb, Lauren Robb, John Robb, Helen Robb, Bryan Robb, Janet Willfang, Sharon Snider, Erin Vink, and Mackenzie Wass.
Playground Memorial Luminaries were lit for: Mitchell Fraser, Christopher Gist, and Sierra Chamblee
Special Thanks goes to the following:
Zehrs 539 Employees - This year I held two 50/50 Draws at my workplace to support Team Darrel. While other teams held Bake Sales or BBQs, I figured I would probably have ate all the profits myself, so a 50/50 seemed like the best way to go. Almost $400 worth of tickets were sold within the one store. An additional thanks goes to Mike Napier, the winner of the 2nd draw, who donated his winning pot of $85 back to our cause!!
Kim and Morghan McKnight - Though they could not participate with us this year, they
provided some treats to help keep us going!
Superstars Baton Club - A big thanks to Krista, Bailey, Emma, Mackenzie and Madison for
stopping by very early Saturday morning before travelling to the competition in Richmond
Hill. Lauren and I appreciated your efforts to support your fellow Superstar!
Thanks Again to all team members, past and present, and all those who have supported useach and every year. Without you, none of this would have been possible!!
P.S. On May 28, 2011 I took part in the 10th Annual Mitchell Fraser Memorial Slo Pitch
Tournament in Solina. It was a great day and event, raising $20,592.40 for Neuroblastoma Research at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto (with a ten year total of $173,600).
Even though I have been communicating with Laura (Mitchell's mother) and Lisa (Nick's mother) on Facebook for a few years, it was nice to finally meet them in person.