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Beachburg's 12-hour Relay for Life raises $34,413

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer


BEACHBURG – Mother Nature could not dampen the spirits of those folks who gathered here Friday night to re-engage in the war against cancer.

A sudden torrential storm bombarded the historic Beachburg Fairgrounds forcing the 2017 Whitewater Relay for Life into the community's arena, however, the momentary setback did not deter those determined to strike their blow against this terrible disease. The fourth annual event to be hosted here raised $34,413, including $26,413 from participants and $8,000 in sponsor contributions.

While that amount didn't come close to the $64,236 raised in 2016, organizers were excited to see the newest Relay in Renfrew County continue to draw walkers, runners and people who are willing to do their part to battle cancer, which claimed 78,800 Canadians last year. About two in five Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetimes and one in four will die of the disease.About 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetimes and 1 in 4 will die of the disease.

“We're here as a community to raise funds to create more survivors and helping more people fighting cancer in our community,” said event co-chairwoman Charlotte Robinson during the opening ceremonies.

Unlike last weekend's county relay in Petawawa, which was reduced to six hours, the Whitewater edition stuck to the traditional 12-hour overnight marathon that saw participants taking shifts walking, running or strolling. This year 'relayers' dressed up in accordance with the theme, “Whitewater goes to the Movies.”

Relay for Life aids in the Canadian Cancer Society's mission to raise funds for life-saving cancer research and vital support services for residents in this region. Those programs include Wheels of Hope and the Pantene wigs initiative. Of course, the ultimate goal is to find a cure. Sixty per cent of Canadians diagnosed with cancer will survive at least five years after their diagnosis. At the beginning of 2009, there were about 810,000 Canadians living with a cancer that had been diagnosed in the previous 10 years. Cobden businessman Ted Barron, this year's honourary survivor, encouraged folks to get PSA screening for prostate cancer or breast examinations. His doctor insisted he undertake a PSA test that detected his prostate cancer in 2011.

“I credit my doctor with saving my life because he found it,” said Barron.

This year's relay continued the poignant traditions of the Survivors Lap and the Luminary Ceremony which will take place at 10 p.m. on Relay night. Each luminary bag bears the name of a cancer survivor or someone who has lost the battle with cancer.

“A cancer diagnosis can be one of life's most terrifying moments,” noted event co-chairwoman Angie Robinson. “The brave men, women and children who face cancer are in a fight for their lives, and although not every story has a happy ending, there are more and more survivors in our midst every day, and tonight, here in Beachburg.”

The top individual fundraisers were Janice Hollingworth, who brought in $1,540, Sandra Cook, at $735, and Cathy McLeese, with $730. The top fundraising teams were Families Fighting Back, who collected $5,642, Whitewater/Bromley Community Health Centre, with $3,510, and Friday Night Lights, with $2,509.


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