Relay for Life raises $120,000 as Stettler rallies to fight cancer

‘Time to celebrate those people who lost the battle’

In front with fellow cancer survivors

In front with fellow cancer survivors

With the battle against cancer ongoing, support remained relatively strong for the fourth annual Relay for Life in Stettler last weekend.

“We think the final figure will be about $120,000,” said Andrea DeYoung, who chairs the organizing committee for the Stettler relay, which was held last Friday at the William E. Hay Composite High School track.

After raising $163,000 last year, this year’s fundraiser fell short of the goal of $160,000, with 28 teams and 255 participants.

“When you look at the ratio, we are on target and we’re happy with that,” DeYoung said.

Crowds gathered at dusk to light 393 luminaries, though organizers were hoping to sell 900 this year, after 800 were sold at last year’s event.

“The luminaries ceremony was touching,” DeYoung said.

“It’s what the Relay for Life is all about — a time to celebrate those people who lost the battle to cancer.”

During the ceremony, luminaries co-chair Wendy Staal told her own story of cancer that began with her father and hit other relatives, and more recently struck herself.

“It is because of this relay that I wanted to face my fear, and I recently went to my doctor and made my appointment,” she said. “I stand here tonight and end with fighting this thing we call cancer. Why do a relay — for all of you.”

Despite the declining figures, organizers were optimistic with the results and local support.

“Stettler always gets behind this event,” DeYoung said. “Fundraising this year was just amazing, whether in a group or from individuals.”

Stettler, however, isn’t the only community where the funding support has declined this year.

“When I talk with the cancer society officials in Red Deer, they say numbers are down everywhere,” DeYoung said.

Participants were inspired during the opening ceremonies.

“Each of us is part of the fight for cancer,” DeYoung said. “It is a very personal journey — a journey you don’t have to take alone.

“Cherish the small moments, remember the important things and smile as we look toward brighter things.”

Organizers expect to confirm final figures by the end of this week, and soon begin to plan for the next Relay for Life in Stettler.