One team takes on Relay for Life challenge

With only one registered team, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) had to cancel its Relay for Life fundraiser planned for Ponoka

Cancer survivors Joan Pattison

With only one registered team, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) had to cancel its Relay for Life fundraiser planned for Ponoka Sept. 14. But, after some consultation the one team decided to go through with a modified version of the relay and CCS was there to support their efforts.

It was a family effort and one of the organizers, Robbi MacKenzie, said they had to decide whether to give back donations and pledges or to go through with the relay. After some discussion with the group, Tammy Henkelman suggested they continue despite the cancelation.

“I felt we had an obligation as a team to the people that pledged money to us,” explained MacKenzie.

Friends and family joined in for one purpose, MacKenzie’s uncle was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and it has affected the entire family. “I’ve seen the turmoil for him and his family.”

The group had a modest goal of $500 but at the time of their relay online pledges showed an amount of $2,980 with cash donations still to be added.

The relay was a modified version of the Relay for Life with each team member pledging two hours for a total of 16 hours. More than eight people walked; other friends and family members showed support to MacKenzie’s uncle.

“From a more personal standpoint we wanted to show him we supported him,” he stated.

Three cancer survivors were there to start off the relay; Joan Pattison, free of breast cancer for 12 years; Barbara Johnston, free of breast cancer for eight years; and Ivy Pugh, free of colon cancer since 1966.

Relay for Life co-ordinator Nancy Kumm and assistant Trish King came to assist with the relay and check the final earnings from the team.

“They said they will walk, I said I’ll be there,” stated Kumm.

She feels it is a testament to MacKenzie’s uncle that the team continued with the relay and even a small relay with one team will bring awareness to CCS and their efforts. “It’s pretty obvious it doesn’t matter how small it is…People come together for the fight.”

The final total earnings for the team was $4,166 and Henkelman feels it is something that can be continued throughout the years. “It would fun to have this as an annual event.”

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