BAIE VERTE, NL — More than 40 cancer survivors came together to celebrate their lives at the Baie Verte and Area Relay for Life Saturday.
They walked around the Copper Ridge Academy gym proudly as spectators, mostly family and friends, gathered to cheer them on. Their zest for life was contagious; having overcome a life-threatening illness can leave that kind of lasting impact.
A small number of participants — only four teams made up the 11th annual relay held in Baie Verte — showed they can make a difference too. The event generated about $6,800.
“I think it went wonderful,” said committee member Janice Acreman.
It was the survivors who brought the most inspiration to the event, according to the Baie Verte woman.
“It’s an emotional time,” she said. “I find that you want to be there to support these people. The people there, they have all been touched by cancer in some way.”
There was a powerful team from Middle Arm at the relay, which Acreman says had four or five cancer survivors leading the way. People from the communities of Ming’s Bight and Burlington made up teams to make sure the event was a success. And there was hope for the future with the youth involved in the Advocate Youth Services Co-Operative (AYSC) making up the fourth team.
Despite the small number of teams, Acreman said there is already a commitment to make the event happen again next year.
“Everybody is saying they are coming back next year, bigger and better,” she said.
Acreman said she spoke to members of the AYSC to compliment them on their involvement, and to stress that they are the future volunteers who will ensure this event continues for years to come.
With ideas already being discussed toward the end of the event on how things can be improved for next year, she said the future of an event that has discontinued in many places around the province seems secure.
Increasing participation must be the focus, she said, noting the successes of teams from the surrounding areas of Baie Verte as examples of how the regional event can grow.
“We want to get team recruitment,” she said. “If we can get into the communities, it has touched every community on the peninsula. In my mind, why can’t all thee communities put in a team?”
However, Acreman also says the people of Baie Verte itself need to step up and get more involved.
Despite its challenges, she was happy with the group’s accomplishment – especially the $6,800 they raised.
“That is good numbers for the amount of participants that was there,” she said.