Atikokan’s tenth Relay for Life will be held Saturday, June 10 at the Charleson rec area, and organizers are hoping this year’s event will be something of a reunion.
“We have many who come every year, but we know, too, that we have many who have been out for one or two of the Relays. This is a year to celebrate, so we are encouraging all past committee members, volunteers, and participants to come out again,” said event chair Christie Gushulak.
The first nine Relays here have raised $251,952 – “pretty amazing for a small town like ours!” – and this year’s committee is aiming to push that past the $275,000 mark.
This year will be another day time event – noon to midnight.
“We know some really prefer the overnight Relay, so we are suggesting that next year’s committee plan for a 6 pm to 6 am event,” said Gushulak.
And as in the past few years, teams can include any number of people – even one – up to a maximum of twenty. (The first few Relays accepted only teams of ten.)
The organizers include Gushulak, Barb Wiens (registration, finances), Raylene Alexiuk (logistics), Clorissa Akstrom (auction table), Melissa Lafond (luminaries), Amanda Desgroseilliers (survivors’ brunch), Amy Sodtke (publicity), and Renee Veran (entertainment).
The survivors’ brunch will be held at the Legion, and the organizers plan to shuttle everyone up to Charleson in time for the noon start. Letters inviting survivors to the brunch are going out this week. If you are a survivor and would like to participate, but don’t get a letter, don’t worry. (There is no master list of cancer survivors for the committee to refer to; they use a list of past participants, and then update it through word of mouth.) All you have to do is contact any member of the committee and let them know you’d like to participate.
“Above all, we want to honour you,” said Gushulak. “It is inspiring to see all the faces and the yellow shirts walking that first lap.”
As always, the public will be welcome to stop in anytime during the event. The Sound Man will be playing popular walking music for all twelve hours, augmented by some live entertainment. The site itself has proven to be ideal for the event – clean and comfortable, with all the necessary facilities.
The committee will be holding luminary sales before hand (check their FaceBook page), and has already started assembling the ever-popular auction table. That always draws lots of interest from both Relay participants and supporters passing through.
Councillor Liz Shine has volunteered to get her head shaved, if there is enough interest (read: pledges). She hasn’t yet specified exactly how much it will take, but Relay organizers have already put out the call for shears.
Finally, there is some talk of a tenth anniversary treat… possibly even fireworks if a sponsor can be found.
Ten years and over a quarter million dollars. That is indeed worth making some noise about, and lighting up the sky.