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News Release

March 06, 2007

Relay for Life to Raise Funds, Support for Cancer Research

About 400 people will gather at the University of Guelph’s Alumni Stadium March 31 at 7 p.m. to begin a 12-hour non-competitive relay in teams of 10 to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“This event is so important because it is proof that you can make a difference,” said Elizabeth Holmes, chair of the U of G event. “The Canadian Cancer Society has a slogan: ‘By giving a few hours of your life, you can add years to the lives of those living with cancer.’ We’re asking 400 students, staff and faculty to give 12 hours!”

The Relay for Life fundraising initiative takes place across Canada and the United States at various times throughout the year. This is the third year U of G is hosting a Relay for Life event. The University holds the record for most money raised by a post-secondary institution, raising more than $57,000 last year.

Fourth-year biomedical sciences student Megan Hayes, a returning Relay for Life captain, first got involved with the event during her second year when her father was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died in August 2005.

“My grandfather had already passed away as a result of cancer, so it is a very personal issue for my family,” said Hayes. “I continue to participate in the relay every year because it's a way to remember my father. It helps people feel less powerless against this disease and gives them somewhere to direct their energy in a positive, proactive way.”

Alumni Affairs and Development decided to get involved in last year’s Relay for Life because two members of the division were battling cancer, said Celeste Bannon Waterman, director of central services.

“We're a very tight-knit unit, and when we heard about the event, it felt like the perfect time and a great way for us to rally around those two individuals in particular and show support for them,” said Bannon Waterman, captain of the Alumni Affairs and Development team.

In addition to bonding with people on and off the track, highlights of the event include a survivor-led victory lap for cancer survivors and their families and a candlelight ceremony to honour or remember loved ones who have battled cancer, said Holmes.

Bannon Waterman and her colleagues are looking forward to participating again this year. “We still have one team member away on her personal fight, but we are thrilled that the other, Mary Watson, is back and will be joining us this year. She'll be walking in the survivor's lap and with us for the whole night.”

Added Hayes: “The relay provides a good support network for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, or who are struggling to encourage and support a loved one who is currently battling the disease. It makes you realize that this is a huge issue, and that none of us are in it alone.”

Holmes notes that the relay is sill looking for more participants. “So get your team together and register. This is a time for us to stand together as a community, find strength in each other and know that there is hope.”

People can also sponsor the event by purchasing luminaries  candles that are placed in bags and carry the names of cancer survivors and loved ones lost  for $5 online under “Get Involved” or in the University Centre courtyard on March 7, 14 and 22.

For more information or to register, send e-mail to or visit

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