Relay for Life raises $20,000 and counting

PCHS secretary Holly Riske

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

Thanks to the Ponoka Relay for Life participants, organizers and volunteers, the Canadian Cancer Society will now have $20,000 more to go toward cancer research.

The first community-wide Ponoka Relay for Life took place on May 13 and had a total of 130 participants of all ages in attendance.

It was a windy and cold night, but participants and volunteers alike managed to stay warm through the 12-hour event with the many activities available such as soccer, live entertainment and, of course, walking around the soccer field at PCHS.

Although this is the third Relay for Life that PCHS has hosted, it is the first event that has been open to the entire community.

The cancer research fundraiser also featured an eye-opening survivor’s lap, where a dozen cancer survivors got together and took a lap around the track before the event began.

“It was wonderful,” said Gwen Plested, a 25-year breast cancer survivor

“When we went around the track, everyone on the inside followed us around and clapped.”

Plested, who is a member of the non-profit weight-loss group ‘TOPS’, learned about it through the group as well as an article published in a previous edition of Ponoka News.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 45 years old.

“It was definitely a great experience being around other survivors, everyone was yelling out their (length of time since being diagnosed) and high-fiving each other,” said Plested.

Another member of TOPS, Barbara Uhl, was undoubtedly the oldest participant at the event.

“I’m 81.5,” quipped Uhl. “I think I’m probably crazy to be doing this at 81.5, but it’s worth it,” she added.

Although the event was held for a serious reason, there was no shortage of fun for the participants.

“It’s great, we’ve just been walking, talking with friends and it’s for a great cause,” said 15-year-old Cole Hogarth.

Hogarth’s walking partner, Mathew Lanz, experienced his second Relay for Life and was far from disappointed.

“A bunch of friends wanted to go last year, so I went,” said Lanz. “It’s a great event.”

When asked if they would continue supporting the event, the duo responded, “Definitely. Every year until graduation and even after.”

Event organizer Sarah Davis was pleased with the amount of interest and most of all, the support received.

“We had one team alone raise $5,000,” said Davis.

Set-up and preparation for the event was not easy for Davis and her team of 20 volunteers. Work started at 8:30 a.m.

In addition to the $20,000 raised from donations, the team sold luminaries at the event, as well as pink streaks for $1 that raised nearly $100 alone.

If you would like to make a donation, but could not make it to the Ponoka Relay for Life, visit www.cancer.ca.

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