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News Release - Queen's students, local community join forces to battle cancer

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

KINGSTON - Queen’s Relay for Life (QRFL) is hosting its 11th annual event on Friday, March 10 at the Athletics and Recreation Centre. Last year, the group raised more than $100,000 in support of cancer research – a figure they intend to reach again with this year’s event. The committee of 19 students has raised more than $400,000 in the past 11 years.

The funds raised are donated to the Canadian Cancer Society, which supports investigators at the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute and the Canadian Cancer Trials Group as they conduct trials on new treatments for various forms of the disease.

“That amount ($100,000) comes from an entire year of fundraising,” says organizer Emma MacLean (ConEd’17). “There are no corporate or business donations, this all comes from students.”

A cancer survivor herself, Ms. MacLean was diagnosed with a form of blood cancer two weeks after her sixth birthday. Thanks to research and the development of new treatments, the survival rate for that form of cancer is approximately 90 per cent.

The event runs from 7 pm to 7 am and kicks off with a survivor lap led by cancer survivors and their families. The opening lap also gives friends, family members and survivors a chance to tell their stories.

“That is the great part of the event,” says organizer Alex Velickovic. “To hear the stories, to hear the survivors, that’s powerful.

Organizer Brianna Poirier wasn’t nearly as lucky but she has turned tragedy in her early life into a passion for raising money and awareness to help find a cure for cancer.

“I was only one and a half when my dad was diagnosed with leukemia,” she says. “He passed away eight days later. When I was in Grade 9 I talked to his doctor and he told me about Relay for Life. I’ve been involved ever since.”

After the first lap, each team must have one member walking the track at all times. Other members of the team can enjoy a wide range of activities including Zumba, dodgeball, a Jell-O-eating contest, Harry Potter trivia, a bouncy castle and more. At midnight, participants come together for the touching and emotional luminary ceremony where everyone takes the time to remember those affected by cancer.

The $20 registration fee comes with a T-shirt, a luminary, and plenty of food throughout the night. Organizers are encouraging each participant to fundraise a minimum of $50 before the event.

Individuals from the Queen’s and Kingston community can donate and register for Queen’s Relay For Life on the website or learn more about the event on the Facebook page.

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Anne Craig, Media Relations Officer

613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca