Walkers were poised and ready in Victoria Park for the fourth annual Relay for Life, which happened on October 15. Around 150 students, faculty and guests gathered for the 12-hour march in support of cancer research. The opening ceremony took place on the steps of the Carnegie building, where organizers Ana-Carolina Salesg, Alanna Mullally, a woman who had tragically lost her seven year old son to cancer, and Laurier’s own, Laura Trombley, part-time student and president of the Brant-Norfolk unit of the Canadian Cancer Society, spoke.
“I hate cancer, so thank you for coming and doing what you can to try and help us to get to a place where no one has to battle cancer,” Mullally said to a crowd of participants.
Her story about her son’s battle with cancer, multiple radiation treatments, struggle to walk and his final passing at such a young age, moved everyone in the crowd.
Others circling the park also proved to have very personal reasons for attending.
Caity Cuffari, in full ensemble as the Golden Hawk mascot, spent most of her night giving high fives and taking pictures with the participants.
She also admitted that the event had some meaning for her, too.
“I’ve lost two family members to cancer,” said Cuffari, her entire body covered in yellow and purple up to the neck. “My grandfather [who] basically raised me and my uncle [who] actually lived with my family. It hit very close to home.”
She expressed a hope to cheer others up on such a sad night.
The walk took a short pause at 11:00PM to light luminaries. Spelled out in lit wax paper bags were the words “hope” and “cure.” Other lights were places along a walkway with notes written on them in colourful ink. Some were goodbyes to loved ones, others were hopes that someone special will make it through, and some were simply quotes like, ‘Cancer ain’t got nothin’ on me,’ and ‘Cancer, you suck.’
Although the night was long and sometimes cold, Sales believes the event was a success.
“It’s intimate, everybody can share their stories and get to know each other… I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
The event closed at 7:00AM, allowing weary legs and chilled fingers to finally get a break. Even with this being the case, many expressed an excitement for next year’s fifth annual walk.