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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Relay for Life recognizes cancer survivors and honours those who have passed on

by Sylene Argent

  A common phrase heard during the 2018 Relay for Life event, which took place at the Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens grounds on Friday, June 8, was, “cancer changes everything.”

  Participants dressed up in their team’s selected theme to take part in the 12-hour event. Many of those participants knew someone who has endured cancer, have supported someone who has, or perhaps have battle the disease themselves.

The Relay for Life event attracted over 20 teams to the Friday evening festivities, which raised money to support cancer research and vital support services for people living with cancer.

  Cottam resident Alex Archer was this year’s Relay for Life Community Champion. He said his fight with cancer began nine-years ago, when he was diagnosed with Leukemia on Christmas Eve. He was three-years old.

He would undergo three-and-a-half-years of chemo, would later relapse and had to leave school, which he was upset about. He would later go into remission, but the cancer would return again.  

Archer was supposed to be the Community Champion in 2017, but had to cancel those plans as he was in Toronto getting a bone marrow transplant. The surgery took place on June 1 of 2017, the day before his 12th birthday.

On the twelve days before the surgery, Archer said his family did many fun things. He admits to getting into trouble with hospital security in Toronto when a ball he was tossing around bumped into an office window, which fashioned a hearty laugh from fellow Relay participants.

Archer walked with his Relay for Life Team, Alex’s Walking Warriors, which traditionally participates in the Cottam Yard Sale to raise funds for Relay for Life.

Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos was pleased to welcome guests to the festivities on Friday evening. “It’s a great event. It raises awareness for the cause and battle against cancer.”

Dr. Lisa Porter fronted the Relay Team, Porter’s Lab Rats. She conducts cancer research and noted 40 percent of people will be diagnosed with the disease. That statistic makes her wonder why everyone is not hitting the track at Relay for Life events.

She noted cancer is complex and each type attacks differently. So, there is not a simple or easy cure. Over the 70-year-long battle against cancer, strides have been made, she noted. In the 1960s, children with Leukemia & Lymphoma likely passed away. Today, she said there is a 90 percent survival rate.

More information about Relay for Life can be found at


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