(March 3, 2023) - On March 10 and 11, 2023, Laurentian Relay for Life will host its eighth annual event. Relay for Life raises awareness and funds in support of the battle against cancer. Fundraising efforts are donated to the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS); the nation’s largest cancer charity and charitable funder of cancer research. The campaign has raised $284,493.61 since 2016 and hopes to raise another $30,000 this year.
Ann VanDerAa (Mount Forest, Ontario), fourth year Bachelor of Arts and Education student double majoring in History and English Literature, Media and Writing is this year’s LU Relay for Life President, and one of twenty student volunteers on the 2022-2023 organizing committee. “I started volunteering with LU Relay for Life in my first year, and I’ve managed to work my way up all the way to the executive team. Every year’s campaign has taught me so much, and it's amazing being a part of something that affects us all. I haven’t met a person who hasn’t been impacted by cancer in one way or the other, so being a part of making a difference, that’s been really powerful.”
Other members of the 2022-2023 LU Relay for Life executive team include Vice-President of Engagement, Caitlyn Brannon (Whitby, Ontario), fourth year Sports Psychology student, and Vice-President of Finance, Cameron Hourtovenko (Sudbury, Ontario), fourth year Biomedical Biology student.
“We are very proud of the work put in to support Relay for Life, a truly collaborative effort,” said VanDerAa. “The event takes place in the Ben Avery gymnasium from 7:00 p.m. on Friday evening through 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning. The night is filled to the brim with live entertainment, food stations, games, sports tournaments, everything you can think of. Ultimately, at the end of the night, we come together to reveal our fundraising total.” Laurentian competes with some of the largest schools in the country in terms of number of participants and amounts fundraised.
“Relay For Life is a global movement, taking place in 29 countries and 6000 communities worldwide and this year, we are so excited to celebrate the 8th annual Relay For Life event at Laurentian University. When Laurentian Relays, the school community helps make it possible for the Canadian Cancer Society to provide a national support system for people with cancer and their families. Together, we’re helping people manage life with cancer with services including accommodation at our cancer lodges, transportation to treatment, and one on one support with peer support volunteers. It’s truly because of the work from our incredible student leaders, volunteers and donors that our mission at the CCS is possible. We thank the Laurentian University community for making a remarkable impact and together, we can unite and inspire all Canadians to take control of cancer,” said Allie Raper, Senior Specialist, Relay For Life Youth, Canadian Cancer Society.
LU Relay for Life is centered around four key ceremonies. An opening and closing ceremony, a survivor ceremony and a luminary ceremony. “The luminary ceremony is a particularly emotional and heartfelt point where participants get the chance to honor people they may have lost in a very respectful way,” said VanDerAa. Participants are each given a small paper bag to decorate, in which a light is inserted. “We dim the lights in the gym and give people time to reflect. It’s genuinely some people’s favourite part of Relay.”
Though more than 125 Laurentian students have registered to participate in this year’s Relay for Life, the goal is for over 300 LU students to get involved. Students can register individually or in teams of 5-12.
LU Relay for Life welcomes new registrants up until the day of the event, March 10th. They are grateful to their many supporters, including local sponsors as below:
Platinum sponsors: Verdicchio’s Ristorante
Gold sponsors: Starbucks, Sudbury Five, Angèle’s Bakes
Silver sponsors: Greater Sudbury Utilities, Peavey Mart, Ferguson Deacon Taws, TestMark
Bronze sponsors: Salute Coffee Company, Handmade by Logan, New Sudbury Spice Co., Science North, Joyful Home, Sage, Twiggs Coffee Roasters, the Daventry, That’s My Jam, Positive Inception, Mastermind Toys, Sudbury Wolves, Party City, and Gourmet World