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PEC Relay for Life blasts through fundraising goal

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Prince Edward County’s fourth annual Canadian Cancer Society Relay For Life event burst through its fundraising goal of $200,000 by unveiling $222,775 in funds raised at the 12-hour event beginning Friday night at the Picton fairgrounds.

“By joining us tonight, you’re part of a global movement dedicated to saving lives and supporting friends and family who are facing cancer now,” said Barb Guernsey, event co-chair with Tina Rutgers. “Together, we are the Canadian Cancer Society and we are the best bet against cancer. The ‘we’ I am referring to is big. Hundreds of thousands across Canada and many more participating in relays in 22 countries all over the world.

“Here’s what we know about you: You want to beat cancer. You want to help people in your community who are affected by the disease. You worked tirelessly to collect the donations that fund life-saving cancer research and local community services and you are ready to endure a long, maybe cold and wet, night and do it with smiles on your face and determination in your hearts. This relay could not happen without generous volunteers who are the heart of relay.”

Monica Alyea, Lisa Lindsay and Stephanie Roth were emcees for the 12 hours of events, entertainment and information.

“There’s going to be a lot of laughs tonight, there’s going to be a lot of tears,” said Todd Smith, Hastings Prince Edward MPP. “You’re doing a great thing raising all kinds of money trying to end this terrible disease that has touched all of our lives.”

Relay is a marvellous event said PEC mayor Peter Mertens, also his team’s chief Hobbit of Shire Hall.

“We all share the same passion and the same goals. We’re here to show support to survivors and we’re also here to try to raise enough funds so we can continue the fight against cancer so that one day the Relay for Life becomes redundant.”

The County’s Charlene Inch agreed to tell her story of survival in hopes that it would bring strength to others in their journey.

“On November 20 2008, I was told that I had breast cancer. The next day, I was told I had cervical cancer,” she told the crowd attending the opening ceremonies. “Of course, I thought the worst, but my fight to live was strong and my journey just started. I had numerous doctors’ appointments, tests and information overload. ”

A hysterectomy in December cleared the cervical cancer and no further treatments were needed. She hoped her lumpectomy and sentinel biopsy would go as well in January. But her breast cancer was stage three and the cancer was in seven of 13 lymph nodes and that meant chemo and radiation.

“I started chemotherapy on February 12, 2009. Six rounds of chemo and 16 rounds of radiation; numerous checkups and I finished everything in July 2009. I was scared but I had so much support from my family, my faith in God, my friends, people who had been through it and people I didn’t know, who became my new friends.

“I have someone in my life right now who is going through the same thing. She went through it with me; knows everything I went through, and now it’s her turn. I’m walking for her tonight and for all those we have lost, and all those who have survived.”

Inch, along with Sarah Reddick, a PECI student who is battling cancer for a second round, donned their “Fight Back” gloves and rang the bell to signify the official start of the evening’s walking and then led the ‘Survivor Lap’.

Shari and Rachel Hardon lit the HOPE box just before the lighting of the luminaries ceremony.

Shari and Rachel Hardon lit the HOPE box just before the lighting of the luminaries ceremony.

Sarah has just learned she will be a candidate for a stem cell transplant this June at Toronto Sick Kids Hospital.

Her family, friends and Sarah’s Ninjas team are showing their support along with Prince Edward Collegiate Institute staff, students and community members who recently held a “OneMatch” Stem Cell and Marrow Drive

The event had 289 (100 PECI students) to be “swabbed” and registered to become a stem cell donor.  Sarah was unable to attend as she was back in hospital fighting an infection but she was able to make a video appearance at the school.

“Sarah is a beautiful 16-year-old, who is looking forward to finishing high school and going to university to fulfill her life-long dream of becoming a teacher,” said Greer Koutroulides, teacher and an organizer of the event. “In order to reach her dreams, Sarah will require a stem cell transplant.”

Inch, along with Sarah Reddick, a PECI student who is battling cancer for a second round, donned their "Fight Back" gloves and rang the bell to signify the official start of the evening's walking and then led the 'Survivor Lap'.

Inch, along with Sarah Reddick, a PECI student who is battling cancer for a second round, donned their “Fight Back” gloves and rang the bell to signify the official start of the evening’s walking and then led the ‘Survivor Lap’.

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  1. TerryLee Davidson says:

    Countylive: Your coverage of Relay for Life held in Picton on June 7/8 2013 is awesome!! My daughter Brenda Tripp McQuaid lost her battle with this disease on Feb 1st of this year, but your coverage continues to bring attention to this worthwhile cause. So from my family to yours….Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!

    Sincerely
    TerryLee Davidson

  2. Diane haviland says:

    thank you for the great relay for life pictures you have posted. will there be more looking for the team pictures thanks again for the great effort you made with this event

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