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Essex County Relay for Life raised over $42,000 for Canadian Cancer Society


by Sylene Argent

Thanks to a lot of community support, Essex County Relay for Life announced it raised $42,783 this year (which surpassed its goal). The funds will be forwarded to the Canadian Cancer Society, which will use the donations collected nation-wide to support cancer research, compassionate s\support services, promote trusted cancer information, and provide advocacy.

  Nation-wide, Relay for Life raised an estimated $3.5M this year.

  The Essex County Relay for Life made the fundraising announcement on Sunday, a day after the nation-wide, one-hour virtual event was held, which included a luminary ceremony, special performances from Canadian musicians Tyler Shaw, Matt Dusk, and Alli Walker, and stories from Participants of Hope, who are individuals wanting to share their own cancer stories.

   In order to raise those funds, the Essex County Relay for Life hosted a virtual pizza event as a local kick-off fundraiser, which raised over $10,000. Other events, planned locally, included virtual paint nights and yoga events, which provided a way for supporters to interact online.

  In addition, participating teams made pledges and collected funds for the cause. The Essex County Relay for Life announced that this year’s top fundraising team was Brai/Big Dawg Strong, which raised $6,619.20, with donations still coming in. Braiden Blackford, who is the inspiration of this team, was also announced as the local top individual fundraiser, having raised $2,033.50 on his own. Team member, Gracee, earned the top youth fundraiser award, having raised over $1,300.

  Other top fundraising teams with the Essex County Relay for Life included Camperettes Crusading Against Cancer and Lesha’s Lancers for Angie.

  Last week, Essex County Relay for Life shared a video to its social media that featured the Luminary Ceremony from previous years. This annual activity honours cancer survivors, and those who had passed from the disease, as loved ones decorate white paper lanterns with messages of hope, then lit a candle within it once the sun had gone down. The Essex County Relay for Life video featured local bagpiper, John Woodbridge.

  In the past, the annual Essex County Relay for Life, in addition to similar events across the nation, would take place in person, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the event to be hosted virtually, on a nation-wide scale, in 2020 and 2021.

  Those interested in making a pledge for a participating Essex County Relay for Life team, can do so at www.relayforlife.ca/essexcounty, until August 31 to be included in this year’s fundraising total.

  The Relay for Life website notes that nearly one in two Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Relay for Life raises funds for research and to be able to provide a national support system for people with cancer, their caregivers, and their families.