People walk at the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life for family and friends they have lost to cancer, for those who are living with it, and so that someday no one will ever have to have cancer again.
“Everyone needs to do this walk. They need to walk in the presence of those who have left,” said Nancy House, who was part of the Baron Insurance Group last year, walking for co-worker Patty Kinghorn and family and friends.
“I was still grieving for my mother and a friend I lost to cancer and to support Patty, who has had four different types of cancer in the past eight years. Most of us here have worked together for a long time and when Patty first got sick it was a shock. She is the epitome of goodness, beautifully caring and compassionate. She’s our sister, den mother, mentor and keeps us on the road of what we do.”
House was happy to hear that Kinghorn came through an operation last week successfully and she will be on the Baron Group’s minds as they walk. Each person will also have their private memories, House of her mother who died of cancer resulting from exposure to second-hand smoke, and her good friend, Lois.
The walk around the track at Polson Park was lined by luminaries, lit candles in sand in paper bags with the names of family members and friends who had died of cancer.
“When I was at the walk, I didn’t feel I was alone. We walked in silence, some others were talking, and there was a feeling of a lot of love. It’s an honour to be able to walk and pay our respects to those who fought so hard. Every story you tell is a connection to those around you.”
House said another aspect of the walk for her was the realization that people have to take responsibility for the parts of their health that they can control, and she made some changes to her lifestyle.
“I really appreciate the people behind the Relay for Life for doing what they do. It’s a healing walk. I felt other people’s relief and a lot of hope and sense of community, that we have to look after each other, that we’re all here for the time we should be.
“It gives you a better perspective of how fragile things can be. It changes how you treat people with more kindness and compassion and not to judge anything until you see the whole picture. There is an energy at the walk. I think everyone takes away something spiritually and emotionally — a beautiful, healing energy. I was amazed at how many people I knew and that we shared that experience of being strong with and for someone we loved. Patty is strong and we used a different strength than we had ever had to help her walk through the valley.”
This year’s Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life takes place from 6 p.m. June 7 to 6 a.m. June 8 in Polson Park. People can come in teams or as individuals and walk for the entire event or do as many laps as they want. There will be entertainment and activities for all ages, including carnival booths, bouncy house, volleyball tournament, tug-of-war competition and live music all night long. Funds raised support cancer research, support services, prevention and advocacy efforts. For more information and registration, contact Sarb Tatla-Low, Relay for Life coordinator, at 250-542-0770 or firstname.lastname@example.org.