SFU’s Relay for Life raises over $32,000


The fifth annual event drew 200 plus participants

By Kelli Gustafson

Simon Fraser University’s fifth annual Relay for Life fundraiser was held the weekend before last and raised over $32,000, beating last year’s total by an estimated $5,000. Relay for Life is one of the largest fundraising events held across Canada for the Canadian Cancer Society, and offers funds for cancer research, prevention, and support.

Beginning at 7:00 p.m. on March 22 at SFU’s West Gym, over 200 participants formed teams to relay together for the 12-hour long event. The Relay for Life event consists of relay teams taking turns to walk or run around a track for 12 to 24 hours (depending on the event), while raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.

In the past, Relay for Life has been the largest event held by SFU Residence, and this year marked the first time it was ran by an SFU club. With the assistance from LEAD students, a dedicated planning committee, and countless volunteers, the event was considered a huge success by all those involved.

The event also hosts a luminary ceremony in order to celebrate and remember those who have survived or been lost to cancer. During the ceremony, which is held during the relay, candles are lit and placed in special paper bags which each bear the name of a cancer survivor or victim.

“I actually was very touched by the luminary ceremony,” said Elina Avramova, SFU LEAD (Certificate in Innovation Leadership) student and Relay for Life participant.

Avramova described how a few laps around the track were made in complete silence during the ceremony; “It was very powerful.”
David Markus, another SFU LEAD student, agreed that the Luminary Ceremony demonstrated harmony. “It was clear during the Luminary Ceremony, and throughout the event, that everyone had a personal bond that motivated them to do such an outstanding job at fundraising.”

Markus and Avramova , along with other fellow LEAD
students, assisted the planning committee with this event by promoting Relay for Life to the SFU community. Promotions included the “Relay for Life Superhero Pub Night,” held last month at the Highland Pub. All proceeds from tickets that night were donated directly to the Canadian Cancer Society.

“I am really happy that for my LEAD project I had the opportunity to work with such a great organization,” Avramova stated.
In 2012, over $51 million was raised across Canada by Relay for Life events for the Canadian Cancer Society. Vancouver’s Relay for Life is still on the horizon, and will be held on June 22 at Killarney Park.