Hundreds of people will be bringing the fight against cancer to Brock’s campus on Friday.
They’ll be doing battle by lacing up their running shoes and taking part in the St. Catharines Relay for Life, a 12-hour, continuous passing of the baton from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Though prime sleeping hours for most, Hilary Canviet said there’s symbolism to walking around the campus’s main traffic circle overnight. After all, cancer never sleeps. The transition between light and dark is also symbolic of what a cancer patient goes through physically and emotionally during treatment.
“It adds to the emotions of the event and the feel of the event,” said Canviet, volunteer and event management student co-ordinator with Student Life and Community Experience. “You go from it being sunny to sunset to dark and dreary to that morning glory. It’s that fighting back and coming through.”
Canviet, a Relay for Life veteran who has participated since she was in high school, admitted the event is exhausting despite teams tailoring their walking schedules. But the biology student, who has spent some of her time at Brock learning about cancer cells and the work on a cure, remains unfazed by the feat, given the money benefits the cancer research she has learned so much about.
“To me, that we’re getting close to conquering cancer - anything that we can do to push us over that final border is exciting and I’m happy to help out,” Canviet said.
Even though the event is Friday, there’s still time for others join those efforts. So far about 700 people spread over 86 teams have registered. Last year, 1,500 people took part.
The registration fee is $10, which covers snacks and meals, and Canviet is encouraging participants to raise at least $50 to $100. Pledges can be made online.
This year’s event also has a board game theme with participants urged to dress up like game pieces or characters and decorate their tents - a team’s home base for the night. Canviet will be sporting beige gear and a solitary black letter as an homage to her team’s Scrabble theme.
“It’s a lot of fun when you’re able to put that twist on it,” she said.
But it’s also a night filled with poignant moments, including the lighting of luminaries in honour of those affected by cancer. There are plenty of others, too.
“There’s a lot of emotion,” Canviet said. “There’s a survivor lap and a lap at the end of the night when everyone is on the track so you have thousands of people walking together. It’s very powerful.”
Team registration is open until Friday at 7 p.m. To take part, visit the Relay for Life website.