Cancer is a devastating disease that has touched the lives of those near and dear to the hearts of many.
To help raise awareness and to help fight back against it, roughly 140 participants making up 14 teams and eight survivors gathered at the football field of PCHS and pitched their tents to take in the first annual 12 hour Ponoka Relay for Life.
At 7 p.m., principal Ian Rawlinson told the large crowd how cancer personally affected his family and life. He told the students he was proud to be a part of the event, and proud of them for bringing such as important event to the community. Deputy mayor John Jacobs presented words of encouragement as well.
“On behalf of the Ponoka town council I would like to welcome the survivors, relay participants and community members as you embark on the Relay for Life event,” he said. “We are very pleased that the Ponoka Composite High School students council has taken the initiative to host the Relay for Life event in our community. Your commitment to this important fundraising effort reflects very positively on the youth in our community…To the survivors, we are very pleased that the relay is held in your honor and you are out in support of this very worthwhile cause. Good luck to everyone as you start the 12-hour relay.”
Eight survivors Ed Pattison, Joan Pattison, Marg Brookwell, Shelly Nicholson, Lyle Krause, Marianne Burkland, Carol Abbott and Holly Riske then walked the first lap and everyone else joined them on the second.
There was scavenger hunt at 9:30 p.m and the luminaria were outlining the walking track were lit at 10:15 p.m then activities resumed with tug of war taking place at 11:30 p.m. Teams were then judged based on team spirit and creativity and clean campsites with prizes going to the Pirate Team and the Life Savors, respectively.
Other prize winners were Jayden Gwyers , the youth participant who raised the most money (just over $500) and Holly Riske, the individual who raised the most money overall (just over $600). The team who raised the most money was the Dream Team ($1,100).
“The event was excellent,” said Sperber. “Everyone cooperated, and everyone took turns walking the track. There were no problems. Our goal was to raise $14,000 and I am proud to say we raised $18, 667 as of Saturday. More money is coming in today and tomorrow so we will have an official number soon. All money raised will go to support families coping with cancer in their lives, cancer research, an updating new technology.“
“Next year, we hope to make this a community event getting all of Ponoka involved. Instead of having 14 teams we hope there are 20 teams or more.”
The event ended at 7 a.m. with breakfast provided by PCHS cafeteria staff.