LITTLE CURRENT—The Manitoulin Relay for Life was held at the FREC.ME (Flat Rock Entertainment Centre) for the first time this year, with participants raising just shy of $10,000.

“We had six teams and 60 participants,” said organizer Kelly Timmermans following the event. “It was a great evening and we raised almost $10,000.”

“We had a lot of great local entertainment and were pleased that Canadian country singer Sean Hogan could join us,” added Ms. Timmermans. “I also need to give a big thank you to Jo-Ann Audette who helped organize the event.”

Manitoulin Relay for Life participants release balloons in unison. photos by Robin Burridge
Manitoulin Relay for Life participants release balloons in unison.
photos by Robin Burridge

“This is an incredible cause, raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and thank you for being here and volunteering your feet, hearts and minds to this event,” said Northeast Town Mayor Al MacNevin during Friday’s opening ceremonies.

“My husband is a cancer survivor and I lost my two sisters to cancer,” said Aundeck Omni Kaning Chief Patsy Corbiere before performing a blessing for the event. “I know how cancer affects everyone and that is why this walk is so important.”

Kathy Burns from the Canadian Cancer Society was also on hand for the opening ceremonies of the Manitoulin walk, and thanked the community for their participation.

“I had a personal (cancer) scare this spring,” shared Ms. Timmermans with participants. “It was a knock on my door that really hit home how important early screening is.”

Sean Hogan shared his personal battle with cancer.

“I was on the road in 2011 and got a lump on my throat,” said Mr. Hogan. “They thought I kept getting tonsillitis, but it was cancer. It started in my tonsils and travelled into my lymphnodes.”

After a long, hard battle, complete with rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, Mr. Hogan was happy to share that as of this past March he was three years cancer free.

“I am honoured to be here and to walk with you,” added Mr. Hogan.

Following the opening speeches, and a Zumba warm up, cancer survivors joined Mr. Hogan for the victory lap. After the first lap, the rest of the Island participated and joined in for a lap before letting balloons go in unison.

Once dusk settled upon the relay, participants lit luminaries commemorating individuals who lost their life to cancer.

The event concluded at midnight with participants completing their last lap and having a moment of silence together.

The Manitoulin Relay for Life will alternate between Island locations each year, being at Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) in 2016 and then back to the FREC.ME in 2017.

For more information about Relay for Life visit www.cancer.ca/relay.