Relay For Life draws more than 100

Tara Chislett – The Aquinian –

$4,600 raised for cancer research

Cancer survivors carry the banner on the Relay for Life's Survivor Lap. (Kyle Albright/AQ)
Cancer survivors carry the banner on the Relay for Life's Survivor Lap. (Kyle Albright/AQ)

All-nighters aren’t just for homework anymore. On March 27, between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., the St. Thomas community came together for the annual Relay for Life, raising about $4,600 for the Canadian Cancer Society.

That figure is less than half of the money raised last year.

The night started slow, but event chair Matt Sheriko said it picked up about half way through, with over 100 people in attendance.

Relay for Life started in Canada in 1999. Designed to celebrate survivors and raise money and awareness for cancer research, the event brings participants together for 12 hours of celebration, with ceremonies, running or walking laps around a track and live entertainment.

In addition to the traditional elements, an auction was added to this year’s event.

“We auctioned off two different guys who had really long hair, one of which was a survivor. We auctioned off the opportunity to cut their hair,” Sheriko said.

Jeremy Fowler tells his story to the audience at Relay for Life. (Kyle Albright/AQ)
Jeremy Fowler tells his story to the audience at Relay for Life. (Kyle Albright/AQ)

Jeremy Fowler, the cancer survivor who shaved his head, has been involved with Relay for Life since his grandfather passed away from cancer six years ago.

“When I came to St. Thomas, I became more actively involved with the relay and I decided that I was going to start donating my hair,” he said. “I only had one opportunity to donate before I was diagnosed.”

Jeremy Fowler with all the hair he's donating to make wigs for cancer patients.  This is the first time his hair was cut since he himself underwent treatment for cancer. (Ashley Charlton/AQ)
Jeremy Fowler with all the hair he's donating to make wigs for cancer patients. This is the first time his hair was cut since he himself underwent treatment for cancer. (Ashley Charlton/AQ)

Fowler lost his hair during chemotherapy treatments. This year marks his first donation since he won his battle with cancer.

“I was nervous at first to cut my hair,” he said. “But when I took a look outside to see all the luminaries, I regained my motivation.”

Both raised over $100 and afterward, other participants came up forward to have their heads shaved, too.

The fundraising goal for the event was $10,000, last year’s total. Although the goal wasn’t met, Sheriko said event organizers are pleased with the way the event went.

“This year, it just seemed like people had stuff on the go and maybe we were just fundraised out from other efforts that had been going on,” he said. “But we’re still very happy with the results.”

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