Wonderful weather and a record number of participants combined to make this year’s Orléans Relay For Life a hugely
successful event, raising nearly $300,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. When combined with other relays held in Ottawa and Stittsville, the total amount raised topped $1.1 million.
More than 1,000 participants making up up over 100 teams gathered at the Millennium Sports
Park on Trim Road last Friday night for the Orléans Relay For Life which was once again kicked
off with a victory lap led by cancer survivors.
At dusk the relay participants stopped to take part in the luminary ceremony in memory of cancer victims.
The ceremony is incredibly poignant as hundreds of candles representing loved ones who
have passed away from cancer line the outside edge of the football field which marks the course for the relay.
One of the teams that participated this year was the Laframboise sisters. Ranging in age
from 42 to 66, the 12 sisters decided to take part in the event after one of the sister’s
husbands was diagnosed with terminal cancer three months ago.
Martine Logan Laframboise, who is the baby of the bunch, is from Orléans while the rest live in the Hawkesbury area.
“My sister was in the relay last year and I remember how nice she said it was so we decided
to all go in it this year to honour Luc,” said Martine. “During the luminary ceremony it was hard.
We all bought one plus one for Luc. It was hard because most of the luminaries were in memory of people
who had passed away, but Luc is still alive. We shed a few tears and had a big hug.”
Other teams represented Hannah Billings Eric Shaw and Karyne Maisonneuve. All three
youngsters passed away from cancer during the past year.
A team of students from Cairine Wilson Secondary School who took part in the relay in
honour of Hannah Billings from Navan who passed away in January at the age of nine, brought a
huge heart with them signed by nearly every student at the school.
Co-organizer Anne-Marie Bourgeois was almost brought to tears by the support the local Relay For Life
has received since its inception four years ago both in terms of financial support and community
volunteers who help make it happen.
“We can’t thank the people enough. They have been so supportive. It’s incredible,” said Bourgeois.
Teams are made up of families, friends, and colleagues, including firefighters and Canadian Forces
personnel. During the relay teammates take turns running, walking, or strolling around the track for
the 12 hour duration of the event which runs through the night.
In the past the Orléans Relay For Life has been plagued with bad weather or unforeseen
incidents like the time two years ago when heavy rains leading up to the event made it impossible
to use Millennium Park, so at the last minute they had to move everything to Cairine Wilson Secondary School.
Organizers are already taking registrations for next year’s relay over the internet. The website is at www.cancer.ca.