BARRY’S BAY – Hundreds of cancer survivors, caregivers, friends and relatives marched through the night on May 30.
They were participating in the annual Relay for Life event, which raises money for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Dave Henderson, fundraising coordinator with the Canadian Cancer Society, pumped up the crowd before the relay kicked off on Friday evening.
Henderson said everyone was there for three reasons: to celebrate cancer survivors, to remember loved ones and to fight back against the disease.
“We are here tonight to say we aren’t going to stand for it anymore,” he said.
He introduced Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski, who sang the national anthem. Afterwards, Yakabuski spoke about his mother, who passed away from cancer 40 years ago. He has also had two brothers-in-law who died from the disease and his sister-in-law is a cancer survivor.
Yakabuski congratulated the event participants.
“It’s more than words, it takes people,” Yakabuski said. “Every year when I come here I am moved by the spirit of the people and the commitment of the people that they are not going to give up the fight with cancer.”
He thanked the organizers, the walkers and the supporters.
“God bless you all and thank you for continuing the fight against this insidious disease,” he said.
Madawaska Valley Mayor David Shulist then spoke about his connection to the disease. His father died of cancer and other family members have lost their battle as well.
“But we cannot forget, we must celebrate and remember,” he said. “Never stop the fight.”
Killaloe-Hagarty-Richards Mayor Janice Visneskie Moore was celebrating her fifth anniversary of surviving colon cancer.
“As I was driving in today, I thought back on five years ago, when I was told that I had colon cancer,” she said. “I was told that it was bad and I had to do whatever I could to try to heal it and get rid of it.”
She took chemotherapy for six months and thought she was going to die.
“It was the worst thing that I have ever had to go through in my life,” she said. “Anyone who has done chemo, I know exactly what you have gone through and what the people are going through that are taking it now.”
Get your June 4, 2014 edition of The Valley Gazette to read more of this story.