Relay for Life pushed back

photo courtesy of Nikki Grobbecker Participants take part in a previous Relay for Life in Hay River. The relay has not been held since 2012 but plans are in motion to bring it back to the community.

photo courtesy of Nikki Grobbecker
Participants take part in a previous Relay for Life in Hay River. The relay has not been held since 2012 but plans are in motion to bring it back to the community.

The Hay River Relay for Life – a fundraiser for cancer research and for those battling the disease – has been rescheduled to June 24.

Rachel Daigneault-Durocher, the chairperson for the event, said the switch from June 17 has benefited the fundraiser.

“The 17th was busy in Hay River. There were tryouts for Canada Summer Games for soccer, so we didn’t want to take away from something else in Hay River,” she said. “It actually worked out well, because we got a few more teams and volunteers that weren’t able to make it on 17th but have signed up now that it’s been moved.”

Hay River’s event has 10 teams signed up, which Daigneault-Durocher said have been busy with bake sales, yard sales, raffles, and community breakfasts to raise money.

“Our goal is $50,000 and we’ve gotten pretty close to that,” she said. “With just the teams alone, we’ve got about $38,000 but we do get lots in from businesses and organizations in town. This is an amazing town for that.”

The relay – a national fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society – was last held in Hay River in 2012.

The event in the South Slave alternates between Hay River and Fort Smith but was not held as planned in Hay River in 2014 because of a shortage of volunteers.

Previously, the now-defunct Hay River Lions Club ran the event. Between 2008 and 2012, the Relay in Hay River raised more than $400,000 in total.

Daigneault-Durocher said her first year as chairperson has been a positive experience.

“It’s a challenge, and it’s a lot of work but we’ve got a good team of people,” she said.

The search for volunteers has turned up lots of people willing to help out, mostly due to the nature of the event, said Daigneault-Durocher.

“Cancer touches everybody. You don’t have to ask people twice to help out,” she said. “We just had a funeral for my auntie who passed away. It really affects everybody. And people that can’t help out with their time usually end up donating or pointing us in the right direction. Everybody wants to help out for a cause like this.”

Daigneault-Durocher said one thing that helps people decide to volunteer is that a portion of the money raised stays in the community.

“One new thing I learned is that part of the money goes to cancer research but part of it also stays here and helps with the costs of people who are battling,” she said. “It’s nice to know that, and I think it helps people decide to donate.”

Usually at Relay for Life, there is a spokesperson who has experienced a personal battle with cancer.

This year, Daigneault-Durocher said she has special permission from the Canadian Cancer Society to showcase Kelsey McGinley.

“She has agreed to be our face for Relay for Life in Hay River, even though she is still battling,” said Daigneault-Durocher. “She’ll be at the survivors’ dinner and tell us about her battle.”

Daigneault-Durocher said she plans to lead the event again in 2018.

“I have a really good team behind me, so I’m sure it will happen again,” she said.

Relay for Life will take place from 7 p.m. on June 24 to 7 a.m. on June 25 on the field of Diamond Jenness Secondary School.

Daigneault-Durocher said she is still accepting volunteers to help out with the event.

–Diana Yeager