More daylight hours expected to draw more teams and volunteers
© Submitted photo
The town council presents Kim Hipkins with a $5,000 cheque for the Hope Air initiative in Labrador. Pictured (l-r): Coun. Shannon Tobin, Coun. Tony Chubbs, Mayor Jamie Snook, Kim Hipkins (Canadian Cancer Society), Deputy Mayor Cora Hamel-Pardy, Coun. Bert Pomeroy and Coun. Jackie Compton Hobbs.
The Canadian Cancer Society in Happy Valley-Goose Bay is making significant changes to this year’s Relay for Life fundraiser, in the hopes of drawing more participation from the community.
The biggest change to the 2014 relay, which takes place June 21, is the start time. In the past, like most relays across the country, the Happy Valley-Goose Bay event was overnight, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. This year will be more of a daylight event, from noon to midnight.
“Hopefully it’ll help with team recruitment. So we might get more families, maybe co-workers,” said Canadian Cancer Society community resource co-ordinator Kim Hipkins. “And we also need to encourage more volunteers. It was very difficult to get volunteers who were willing to spend the night there.”
Relay for Life is a popular fundraising event that happens in communities across Canada every year. People who register relay teams collect donations for cancer research and related programs. The 12-hour Relay for Life event is filled with activities, entertainment, and lots of walking.
But, according to Hipkins, the Happy Valley-Goose Bay relay has been losing some popularity over the past two years. In 2011, 25 teams registered for the event. But in 2013 there were only 15.
Hipkins is expecting people to respond warmly to the time change for the 2014 Relay for Life, which will be taking place at Husky Park off Hamilton River Road.
“When it was seven-to-seven, everyone was pretty much gone by 11 o’clock. So it left the teams and the volunteers there for eight hours on their own,” said Hipkins.
“We want to make it more of a festival event that the town can participate. So our venue is right on the main road. So the people going by will see the tents and maybe come in. We’ll have activities that people can participate in.”
Hipkins also believes that the more spectators who drop by to visit the event, the more encouraging it will be for the tired folks to keep walking their relay laps.
“And I think that teams are more motivated, people are motivated, when you have people cheering you on,” said Hipkins.
“All the people who I’ve spoken to have been really positive about the change. So I am hopeful it’s a positive change and we will see the number of teams increase.”
Hipkins is anticipating that the different hours will also help gather more volunteers along with the teams. It should be especially easier to get musicians and entertainers lined up to be on stage.
“Our entertainment will start mid-afternoon and go into the evening instead of starting at nine o’clock at night,” said Hipkins
“We think it’s going to be easier to get singers, if you offer them a daytime (hour) to come. Do you want to perform at three in the afternoon or three in the morning? Me, personally, I’d rather do three in the afternoon.”
Despite the time change, the most important events of Relay for Life will still be intact. Happy Valley-Goose Bay will still host a cancer survivors banquet and survivors walk. And, as the sun is setting, the traditional luminaries will still be lit.
“So all of that will remain the same, all the symbolism that was there before will still be there,” said Hipkins.
Money raised this spring
April was a busy time for the Canadian Cancer society, but also a very productive one. Here in Labrador, 33 cases of daffodil flowers were sold during the annual daffodil campaign, raising more than $15,000.
There were also several donations made recently to the new Hope Air initiative in Labrador. The Canadian Cancer Society made a $60,000 donation this spring, the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay made a $5,000 donation, and the local Rotary Club also made a donation of $5,000.