About 30 cancer survivors brave the rain in the Victory Lap in the Relay for Life last Friday night at the William E. Hay Composite High School track in Stettler.

About 30 cancer survivors brave the rain in the Victory Lap in the Relay for Life last Friday night at the William E. Hay Composite High School track in Stettler.

Relay for Life battles cancer … and rain

Despite a wet start, the fifth annual Relay for Life in Stettler dried up and netted just under $50,000 last Friday night

Despite a wet start, the fifth annual Relay for Life in Stettler dried up and netted just under $50,000 last Friday night at William E. Hay Composite High School track.

“We raised about $49,000,” said Trish King, co-ordinator of the local event and revenue development co-ordinator with the Canadian Cancer Society in Red Deer.

“That’s awesome.

“We had 101 participants and about 30 in the survivors’ lap.”

More than 750 luminaries were lit in a ceremony at dusk in memory of loved ones who lost their battle with cancer.

With support declining since the first event attracted 49 teams and raised more than $170,000, organizers plan to reschedule the local fundraiser in September, starting next year.

Local civic leaders urged the participants as they spoke during opening ceremonies in the rain.

“I commend the people for organizing this event and I encourage you to make it as much fun,” said County of Stettler Reeve Wayne Nixon.

Words were also given from the Town of Stettler.

“Don’t let the rain discourage you,” said Coun. Peter Simons, who described the fight to battle cancer as courageous.

“It’s relentless and unforgiving and requires perseverance and courage, and that’s why we’re all here.”

A cancer survivor and former local relay co-ordinator shared here experience in the fight.

“I know you know you’re amazing and strong,” said Andrea de Young, who shared her story during the survivors’ luncheon and first participated in Relay for Life in 2009. “Because I saw all of you in yellow shirts as survivors, it gave me hope, inspiration and strength to keep going and keep fighting.”

During the opening ceremonies, participants were urged to fight together.

“We relay because we want to put an end to cancer — a disease that has touched all of our lives in some way,” said Lynn Sabo, who co-chaired the local committee.

“We relay because we know that we can change cancer forever. That’s the power of relay.

“Our community has joined the fight.”

Last year, the event netted $130,239.07 with 28 teams, and $163,000 was raised in 2011.

Others on the Stettler committee included Crystal Schierman, Dorothy Hebert, Kevin Sabo and Murray Wahlund.