Relay for Life participants begin lighting their luminaries to honour the memory of loved ones lost to cancer, as the sun sets during the 2018 Salmon Arm Relay for Life. (File photo)

Relay for Life participants begin lighting their luminaries to honour the memory of loved ones lost to cancer, as the sun sets during the 2018 Salmon Arm Relay for Life. (File photo)

Canadian Cancer Society cancels Shuswap Relay for Life

Former committee members hope to hold a Luminary Walk in Salmon Arm

After having been a fixture in Salmon Arm since 2003, the Canadian Cancer Society will not be holding a Relay for Life in the city this year.

Brenda Kurtz, who has volunteered with the relay since its inception, said organizers were informed it won’t be happening.

“That’s just the word we were given, it wasn’t our decision. I think what they’ve done is eliminated several of them and are concentrating on just a few in the province. Ours was the last one in this area.”

She said Jen Dies, who was manager of the society’s Salmon Arm branch, is no longer there.

Read more: Get ready for Relay for Life

Read more: Editorial – Relay harnesses generosity

Kurtz said although the relay won’t be taking place, former committee members would still like to hold a Luminary Walk.

She has written to city council to ask permission to hold the walk at Marine Park on June 8.

“We want to still recognize our survivors and caregivers and offer the opportunity for individuals to honour their loved ones by buying luminaries and lighting them on that evening,” she wrote.

Kurtz cautions that organizers won’t be proceeding with plans for a Luminary Walk this year until they’re sure they have all the necessary approvals.

Asked if she’s okay with not having a relay, Kurtz is forthright.

“No, I’ll be honest. I wish we were still able to do it, but we could see a decline every year.”

Read more: Relay for Life – new format, same goal

Read more: Salmon Arm braves the windy weather to support Relay for Life

Since its start in 2003, the Salmon Arm Relay for Life has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cancer society.

The 2018 event at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds attracted more than 200 people who attended to support cancer survivors, remember those lost to cancer and assist research towards a cure. It raised more than $79,000.

The Canadian Cancer Society has not responded to a request for comment.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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More than 200 participants attended the Relay for Life June 9, 2018 at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds, toughing it out through a brisk and rainy night in support of cancer research and survivors. (File photo)

More than 200 participants attended the Relay for Life June 9, 2018 at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds, toughing it out through a brisk and rainy night in support of cancer research and survivors. (File photo)

Mary Jane Jackson, Iris Pearson, Gwen Wall and Nikki Leyenhorst, nurses in the oncology department at Shuswap Lake General Hospital, formed the Cancer Kicking Chemo Crew team for the 2018 Relay for Life and came out to support their patients and friends. (File photo)

Mary Jane Jackson, Iris Pearson, Gwen Wall and Nikki Leyenhorst, nurses in the oncology department at Shuswap Lake General Hospital, formed the Cancer Kicking Chemo Crew team for the 2018 Relay for Life and came out to support their patients and friends. (File photo)

Sandra Blisken and Byril Kurtz dress in their best for the survivors’ victory lap at the Relay for Life. (File photo)

Sandra Blisken and Byril Kurtz dress in their best for the survivors’ victory lap at the Relay for Life. (File photo)

Donna O-Hearn, Barb Weller, Val Lynch and Shannon Dreger put on their funniest faces for the 2018 Relay for Life, bringing a little cheer to the track. (File photo)

Donna O-Hearn, Barb Weller, Val Lynch and Shannon Dreger put on their funniest faces for the 2018 Relay for Life, bringing a little cheer to the track. (File photo)

Canadian Cancer Society coordinator Jen Dies begins lighting candles in preparation for the luminary ceremony during the 2018 Relay for Life. These candles and the luminary bags they light symbolize the memory of someone lost to cancer. (File photo)

Canadian Cancer Society coordinator Jen Dies begins lighting candles in preparation for the luminary ceremony during the 2018 Relay for Life. These candles and the luminary bags they light symbolize the memory of someone lost to cancer. (File photo)