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    Student-organized events raise more than $200,000 for cancer research



    Two student-organized events have raised more than $100,000 each in support of cancer research and patients.

    The Queen’s Relay for Life was held March 31-April 1 and raised more than $103,000, with 405 participants and seven survivors taking part in the overnight event.

    This year’s relay marked the first in-person event for the group since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “I have never experienced an event that brings together a community of people the same way as Relay for Life does, and this was so evident at Friday’s event,” says co-chair Charlotte Pollard, adding that while the group hosted virtual events during the pandemic there is no comparison to being in-person. “The atmosphere was nothing short of inspiring. From listening to the cancer survivors in the Queen’s community share their stories to feeling the energy from students as we announced our final fundraising total. I was leaving the event on Saturday morning so motivated by what Queen's Relay for Life was able to accomplish this year. Events like this truly speak to the incredible impact a group of students can make together.”

    The event included an opening ceremony, dinner and breakfast service, and a closing ceremony. Activities such as Zumba, live music, auction, sports, movies, crafts, haircuts, and more were held throughout the night.

    A favourite moment for many, including co-chair Julia McGregor, is the luminary ceremony where participants are joined by cancer survivors.

    “As Relay for Life veterans at this point, Charlotte and I were worried about how the notion of walking around the track in near silence for close to an hour would sit with many of our participants as they experienced Relay for the first time,” McGregor says. “To our surprise it was truly effortless. This time to honour and remember our loved ones who have passed is so powerful and raw, which is something we hoped everyone would feel.”

    All money raised is donated to the Canadian Cancer Society, which supports investigators at the Queen’s Cancer Research Institute and the Canadian Cancer Trials Group.

    Arena Showdown

    On the ice a week earlier, a group of Queen’s Health Sciences students challenged their physician teachers and supervisors to a game of hockey and help raise more than $100,000 in support of the Brain Tumour Foundation.

    The inaugural Queen’s Med Fights Cancer hockey game, held March 25 at the Leon’s Centre in downtown Kingston, saw Queen’s medical students face off with physicians from a wide variety of specialties.

    The fundraiser was organized by third-year Queen’s medical students to support their classmate Geordie Maguire, who was diagnosed with a grade 4 astrocytoma soon after finishing his second-year exams.

    “It was an incredible event and so meaningful for me to have the Queen’s medical community be a part of it,” says Maguire, who played for the Queen’s Gaels after finishing his junior career where he suited up for the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings and the Regina Pats. “During the game, I focused on having fun and I think the players on both teams and in the stands had the same goal in mind. We were celebrating the hard work put in by my classmates and fellow Queen’s Med students. It was so fun and gratifying to be able to participate in the event.”

    Several other supporting events were hosted including a pancake breakfast, a post-game celebration, and a silent auction.

    The money, from more than 800 donors, will go toward research aimed at finding a cause and cure for brain tumours, as well as supporting programs for patients.