The 5th annual Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life in Squamish took place on Friday night and we were there for all of the action. It was a beautifully clear and warm evening, the best of the four years that I have attended, with no threat of rain in sight. The evening kicked off with the opening ceremonies including a welcome from Squamish Mayor Greg Gardner, the national anthem sung by Whistler’s Ali Milner and a moving survivor speech. The walking itself started with the Survivors Lap and Team Relay. Jeff had attended the Relay for a few hours in the past but this was the first time he was signed up as a full participant. He was anxious to get walking and as we kept passing people around the track I kept reminding him that we were going to be walking for a while and that fast was not always best. After the first 10 laps he started to see my point.

This year’s event was the largest in Squamish so far with 41 teams and over 450 participants. We did do our part to help raise additional funds through the evening’s activities. At one point we had our names on so many items in the silent auction I wasn’t sure how we would get everything home. But in the end the only item we were successful in bidding for was two nights at the Marriot Residence Inn in Whistler. It was a great prize for us (or purchase really) as it was easy to bring home and we are planning a trip to Whistler in the next few weeks anyway to get in some mountain biking. In addition to the auction other fundraising activities for the night included the Kettle Corn stand (who can resist) and the sale of Luminaries. The Luminaries are white paper bags filled with sand that holds a tea light written in honor or in memory of loved ones. They line the track and just after dark are lit. The event is beautiful and very moving as each participant lights their own candle and everyone does a lap together in silence.

The 2009 event was a great success. The live music and line dancing lessons kept everyone moving. Tamsyn Morote, the event’s organizer for five years running, did a fantastic job and has become a good friend over the years. Thanks to all of my family and friends who helped get me to my $1,140 fundraising total. The total raised by the event was $109,845 and still counting with donations made on the night and the proceeds from the silent auction and other events still to be added.