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'Relay for Life' taking shape

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The local “Relay for Life” is coming up quickly and organizers are getting excited about the activities they have planned for this year, as well as the special birthday theme.

Set for Saturday, June 24, the committee is putting a call out for anyone interested in taking part in their “survivors' ceremony” in particular.

“We wanted to invite any survivors, or anyone who is currently fighting cancer, to be able to come out to our survivors' ceremony," said Monica Sus, head organizer on the "Relay for Life” committee.

“What we're asking is that they contact us in advance so we know how many people to expect,” she added.

This year's survivors' ceremony is set to begin at noon and run until 2 p.m. during the relay, which takes place from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. at the Fort Frances Curling Club.

Survivors will have 45 minutes to register, with events commencing at 12:45 p.m.

“They can sit and visit with each other while having something to eat, and then we will proceed with the ceremony,” noted Sus.

The committee will have survivors speaking at the relay, as well as a special “survivors' lap” and head-shaving in honour of those who have won their battle with cancer.

Sus is urging survivors to contact her beforehand at 271-0932 to sign up.

She also noted the committee managed to get 10 teams to register for this year's “Relay for Life”—something she was worried wouldn't happen.

She conceded, however, that the teams are smaller than in past years.

“Our teams are smaller this year but they've got a lot of heart,” Sus enthused.

In fact, she noted one individual on the Riverside Health Care team already has raised $2,600 in a matter of weeks and had her head shaved.

Other activities throughout the day will include a Zumba warm-up, a dance-off to music from all decades, and a newspaper fashion show.

Samantha Manty, director at the Riverside Foundation for Health Care, said she is happy the partnership with "Relay for Life' has continued and noted how the money raised has benefited the local hospital over the years.

“This year is special because we were able to continue our partnership with 'Relay for Life,'” noted Manty.

“This allows dollars raised over a certain amount to come back and support cancer care in our community,” she explained.

“If we are able to raise more than $30,000 [this year], everything over that amount will come back and support people right here.”

“We're hoping that even if people can't walk, they will think about donating,” Manty added.

"Because it's a great way to donate to cancer care, but also support loved ones that are fighting here at home.

“We aren't just supporting the Canadian Cancer Society, we are supporting local health care,” she stressed.

Past money has gone towards a PICC line insertion ultrasound machine and training on how to use it.

Usually, individuals would have to travel to Thunder Bay to receive this type of training, but the money raised allowed Riverside to get it here.

This year, the Foundation is looking at buying comfort chairs for the chemotherapy unit if they're approved.

Meanwhile, Sus noted luminaries are on sale at Pharmasave, From the Grind Up, and the hospital gift shop, and also will be available the day of the relay.

They cost $5 each.

The committee also is looking for entertainment for the day.

Anyone interested in donating their time to play a few songs is asked to contact Sus.

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