More than $61,000 was raised at the Pictou County Relay for Life over the weekend.
Twenty-seven teams signed up for the relay this year, an increase over last, with Jeana’s Girls named the top fundraising team of the event with $17,785. The team received the Marilyn DeCoste award, a newly named award in honour of DeCoste and her team who were often the top fundraisers.
Despite the rain and wind, co-chair Vicki Moore said the event went well.
“I think it was great even though the weather’s a bummer. Cancer’s a bummer too; this is a little sacrifice to make for people we love that we’re honouring today,” she said, noting the increase in teams, the parade through downtown with musicians from North Nova Education Centre, and the pipe band that led the survivors’ walk.
Approximately 100 survivors were honoured during a reception before the relay started, Moore said.
“It is an honour for us to recognize the survivors. They are a great inspiration,” she said.
One of the new teams signed up this year was Ross Is Boss, made up of approximately 40 friends and family members of local hockey player Brayden Ross who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia earlier this year and has been receiving treatment at the IWK Hospital in Halifax. They raised $4,746, placing the team as the second highest fundraisers of the event.
“I think just seeing what Brayden has gone through and then what we’re experiencing through that has kind of opened our eyes to the fight that people go through when they experience cancer,” said Kristi Chisholm, who is Ross’ aunt. She said it’s driven them to fundraise and help in any way they can.
Ross’ girlfriend Melissa Robertson said collecting donations was easy with the level of support Ross has received.
“It’s really helping Brayden get through this, knowing all the support he has at home.”
Chisholm added Ross is overwhelmed and appreciative of the response they’ve received, both for himself and for other people with cancer as well.
Among the returning teams was Carlton’s Hip Crew, made up of friends and family of New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee executive director Carlton Munroe who died of glioblastoma in November last year.
Taryn Munroe said the experience was different this time as last year her husband was walking beside them.
“It’s in memory instead of in honour, but life goes on and we know he’s here with us and we’re just really happy we can come out and support anybody that’s dealing with cancer, any caregivers that are supporting someone with cancer. We’ve all been affected. Just being out here and being with the community and showing our support for everyone who’s been affected is something special.”
She said there are many people at the relay willing to share their story.
“It’s nice to hear those other stories and to know that how you’re feeling, you’re just validating your feelings.”
Taryn, who recently joined the relay committee, said she hopes the relay continues to grow in registration.
Donations continue to be accepted until the end of July.