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Relay For Life fills void for this year

Dot Perry displays a luminary she chose for Sunday’s West Prince Relay fundraiser. She said she was moved by the message of hope a child wrote on the luminary.
Dot Perry displays a luminary she chose for Sunday’s West Prince Relay fundraiser. She said she was moved by the message of hope a child wrote on the luminary.

ELMSDALE, P.E.I. - Dot Perry was so deeply touched by what a child scrawled onto a Canadian Cancer Society luminary bag, that she chose it in memory of her father

“Help fight cancer so other people can play and have fun and enjoy life,” she read. The message continued with the child’s instruction: “You can start by donating at least two dollars.”

The Canadian Cancer Society brought the luminary bags to schools last year and invited students to print messages of hope on them.

Perry chose the luminary during the West Prince Relay for Life fundraiser Sunday at Westisle Composite High School. Sunday’s fundraiser was held in place of the Westisle Relay for Life which was normally held in June. That event didn’t happen this year.

Many in attendance for the survivors’ reception and sticking around for a fundraising concert expressed hope that the fundraiser is a big first step to getting the annual relay going again.

“I was scared we were going to lose it,” said Perry who had attended every one of the Westisle Relay for Life events with the Tignish TOPS group. “It’s important,” she insisted.

“It’s huge,” Marlene Mulligan, executive director of the P.E.I. Division of the Canadian Cancer Society said of the interest shown in getting the relay back. “It speaks volumes of the volunteer commitment.”

Both Gail MacDonald, P.E.I. Cancer Society Relay co-ordinator, and Eleanor Perry, one of the organizers for Sunday’s fundraiser, expressed confidence the Relay will be back to its regular format next year. Perry said other volunteers are stepping up to take over.

MacDonald said it is possible that it will transition to a community-led event rather than a student-led relay, but she is confident students will continue to play a major role. She noted several Westisle students were assisting with the special fundraiser.

Perry was thrilled to have 38 survivors attend a reception prior to the concert.

Donations from seven teams, along with the sale of luminaries and proceeds from the special concert raised in excess of $10,400 for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“The committee did a great job and, as usual, the community came together in support,” MacDonald acknowledged.

“It shows the community is still very much behind the Canadian Cancer Society and they know the importance of it,” she commented.

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