On Saturday, June 21, the Elk Valley Relay for Life will be returning to Sparwood. After being held for many consecutive years in Fernie, the hosting duties for the 2014 fundraising event are being turned over to Sparwood.
“It’s an Elk Valley relay and for whatever reason it got held up in Fernie for many years. I’m on a push to bring it back into rotation,” explained Jen Smith, co-chair of the Elk Valley Relay for Life. “I’d like to see it [in Sparwood] for two years, in Elkford for two years, and then back to Fernie for two years. I think it will be a way more effective event if the communities have time to embrace it and take it in, and then move it along to keep it fresh.”
Relay for Life is a non-competitive, 12-hour fundraising event that brings community members together to celebrate life and fight cancer. It is the Canadian Cancer Society’s largest annual fundraising effort, with money raised going towards cancer research, advocating for public policies that reduce cancer risk, as well as information and support services for people living with cancer.
It has been roughly eight years since Sparwood hosted Relay for Life.
“Sparwood has been a great supporter of the Canadian Cancer Society with its Daffodil Campaign and in the past hosted Relay for Life many years ago,” said Smith. “After speaking with service groups and community groups, so far everyone has been very excited, and I’ve been getting lots of positive feedback.”
She went on to say, “This being the first year here I’m aiming for 12 teams at least. We made sure this year it’s not on Coal Miner Days so it won’t interfere. I’m hoping in the future to have Relay for Life become part of Coal Miner Days and participated in like the bed races and the parade.”
Held in Fernie last year, the 2013 Elk Valley Relay for Life raised about $60,000. There were 16 fundraising teams, six of which were from Sparwood or Elkford.
The event is largely volunteer driven and Smith is on the hunt for anyone able to help out leading up to and on the day of the event. For more information about Relay for Life visit www.relayforlife.ca.