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‘Relay for Life’ set to be record-breaker

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With more teams than last year, organizers of the second-annual “Relay for Life” here are getting ready for what they hope will be a record-breaking year.

The 12-hour relay, held in support of the Canadian Cancer Society, will be held at Pither’s Point on June 21-22. Last year’s inaugural event raised a whopping $75,000 for cancer research and treatment programs.

“We’ve got two weeks to go,” said Sue Danku, who is co-ordinating the event again this year. “We have 41 teams, up from 32 last year. Our goal was to have 40 teams so we’re there.”

“We haven’t had as much hype [as last year]. I’m hoping it will really increase in the next two weeks,” she added.

Kenora and Thunder Bay are holding similar relays this weekend while organizers here put the finishing touches on the local one.

“It’s a little crazy. We’ve had a few glitches but it all worked out,” Danku said.

Danku now is trying to encourage people to purchase their “luminaries” early.

Luminaries in memory of those who died of cancer, or to honour those who have survived the disease, are placed around the edge of the track and lit at dusk in a touching ceremony.

They are on sale for $5 at various businesses in Fort Frances. Organizers also will be selling them at the Clover Valley Farmers’ Market here tomorrow.

There are 1,500 luminaries available this year but so far sales have been slow.

“Fort Frances is known for being a last-minute town,” Danku joked.

Last year, only 300 luminaries were sold before the relay, but then sold out completely just after it began.

The “Relay for Life” also is a time to recognize those who have had cancer, especially during the first lap around Pither’s Point where survivors are invited to take a special “Victory Lap.”

“It’s a worthwhile event and cancer affects a lot of people. This is their way of getting involved,” Danku said.

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