We often get asked, why do we Relay at night?
The other charities walk during the day, but oh no not that crazy Canadian Cancer Society! They don’t even start their Relay until 7 p.m. and they walk for 12 hours.
Let me explain why relay For Life starts at dusk and ends at the next day’s morning:
- The light of the day and darkness of the night parallel the physical effects, emotions, and mental state of a cancer patient while undergoing treatment.
- As the participants arrive to start Relay they are strong and ready for the challenge.
- That newly diagnosed cancer survivor hopes they too are ready for the challenge – the challenge of their life.
- We start to lose the day’s light and the cancer survivor wonders if they are going to lose their life.
- As the evening goes on it gets colder and darker and the participants start to wonder what they have gotten themselves into - just as the emotions of the cancer survivor gets colder and darker and they too wonder what is in store for them.
- At 10 p.m. at Relay, we have the emotional rollercoaster of the Luminary Ceremony where every candle we light represents the life of a loved one.
- Some have survived and some have lost their battle.
- But these lights will guide you through the night.
- This represents the time the cancer patient gets help from family, a doctor, or maybe the Canadian Cancer Society – where we will help light their path through their journey.
- Around 1:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. you’re tired and have been walking for hours and you don’t know if you can keep going. You think about giving up.
- For the cancer patient, this represents the time when they start treatments.
- They become exhausted, some sick, not wanting to go on, possibly wanting to give up, but they can’t.
- Around 4:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. we are nearing the end of Relay and for the cancer patient, it symbolizes nearing the end of their treatments.
- You’re tired and so are they but you’re almost there.
- Hope is in sight.
- As the morning sun rises – you know that what you have accomplished is wonderful and empowering and so does the cancer patient.
- They can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
- The morning sunrise brings a new day full of life and they know they will live to see another day.
- Their treatments are over and they made it!
- When you leave Relay, we ask that you think of the cancer survivor leaving their last treatment.
- Just as you are exhausted and weak, so is that person after treatment.
- But there is hope in the new day!
- The money raised at Relay will support community services, lifesaving research, prevention education, and advocacy efforts…and that is why we Relay!
So the next time you are asked why we Relay at night – say because we can.
REMEMBER: There is no finish line until we find a cure.