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Relay for Life will be celebrating 10th anniversary in Osoyoos on Saturday
The numbers will be down a little, but that won’t dampen or lessen the importance and impact of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Osoyoos Relay for Life on Saturday, says event co-ordinator Chantal Reems.
As of last Friday, a total of nine teams and 60 people had registered for the 2014 Relay for Life, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary in Osoyoos, said Reems.
“We’re hoping to get a couple of last-minute teams, but right now we have nine teams and 60 people registered,” she said. “That’s quite a bit lower than the 14 teams and 150 participants we had last year, but we’re still looking forward to a very successful event.”
There doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason why there has been such a significant drop in participating for the 10th annual event, said Reems.
“It’s disappointing, but the bottom line is a lot of people seem to be really busy this time of the year,” she said. “The good news is all of the people who have signed up are really excited and all of our volunteers have done a fantastic job getting things organized and we’re hoping for another fantastic event.”
The Osoyoos Relay for Life has raised more than $305,000 in its first nine years and organizers have established a goal to raise $50,000 during the 2014 event, which will be challenging considering the number of participants is down, she said.
“We’ve set an ambitious goal and we might not reach that goal, but we’ll be raising a significant amount of money and that’s all that really matters,” she said. “Almost all of the pledge money in Osoyoos is brought in the day of the event, so I think we’re going to have another very successful event that raises a lot of money.”
After several years at Gyro Park, the Osoyoos Relay for Life is moving to the playing fields behind Osoyoos Elementary School and the Sonora Community Centre.
“We have a lot more room than we had at Gyro Park and all of the people I’ve talked to are really looking forward to the change of venue,” she said. “There is a lot more room for the participants and there is always a good amount of young families down there on Saturdays using the playground equipment, so it should provide a really nice family atmosphere for the relay.”
The event will kick off with opening ceremonies at noon. Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells will welcome all of the participants.
Jim Harrington will provide the annual survivor’s speech, which will be followed by a survivor’s lap, which begins an event filled with emotion, said Reems.
To keep participants and supporters entertained, there will be family entertainment starting at 1 and continuing all afternoon, said Reems.
This will line dancers from the Osoyoos Seniors Centre, musicians Tony Zelko and Kansas-Lee Hatherly, a yoga class demonstration, a performance by members of Dance Oasis and family entertainer Matt Duffus.
The lighting of the luminaries, which honour those who have lost their battle with cancer, will take place at dusk or just after 9:30 p.m.
All interested local residents are urged to show up and cheer on the participants throughout the 12-hour relay event, said Reems.