Relay for Life celebrates 10 years

Saturday's Relay for Life marks the 10th year the event has taken place in Whitehorse. The Yukon Canadian Cancer Society hopes to raise more funds and celebrate local survivors' struggles.

Saturday’s Relay for Life marks the 10th year the event has taken place in Whitehorse. The Yukon Canadian Cancer Society hopes to raise more funds and celebrate local survivors’ struggles.

As a cancer survivor, author and Yukon News columnist Keith Halliday encourages everyone to attend the event, which will start at noon Sunday at Shipyards Park.

Halliday was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer in 2002.

“The treatment protocol for my Hodgkin’s was so well-known and so well-defined and effective and so now it’s important to me that me and other people in Whitehorse contribute to the next generation of cancer research and also raise money for those activities,” he said.

Halliday said that his battle with cancer was a very “fortunate” one, in that his recovery was quick and his work insurance footed his medical bills. “It was six months of chemotherapy and then followed by a break and then a month of radiation,” he said.

He still experiences lingering side effects. “You’re never really fully out of the woods,” Halliday said. “I have a higher risk of lung cancer in various parts of my neck and I also have to take thyroid medication on an ongoing basis because my thyroid was radiated,” he added.

He also praised the B.C. and Yukon province’s medical services for the quick recovery. He said he “seamlessly” moved between the Whitehorse General Hospital to the B.C. Cancer Agency in Vancouver.

Despite the closure in mid-May of the Whitehorse office of the Yukon Cancer Society, annual activities such as the Relay for Life still live on.

“It was done for economic and financial reasons. What we want people to know is it just makes it cheaper so the money goes to the things that really matter like prevention and research,” said the society’s part-time organizer, Alanna Bennett. “And the fact that we still have relays is really wonderful because it’s still a place that people can get together and celebrate cancer survivors. I guess in the office there’s only one or two people at a time so at least we still have the relay,” she added.

People have been understanding, because “it’s expensive to keep an office and staff going,” Bennett said.

Relay for Life donations go towards research, prevention initiatives and support services for people living with cancer.

But the relay won’t look the same without long-time supporter and Yukon College chancellor Geraldine Van Bibber, who has separated herself from the society and started her own initiative, called the Yukon Cancer Fund.

Van Bibber had been a volunteer with the society for over 20 years, knocking door-to-door when she first started to raise funds and awareness in Whitehorse. “I don’t want to take all the credit because there’s a lot of wonderful volunteers and I was just part of the cog, but very vocal and visible that’s for sure,” she said.

Van Bibber opposed the closure of the office. “As far as I can see they have taken the Yukon off because they’ve closed their office. And to have them say call 1-800 or visit a website. So many in our communities do not have access to Internet, as elders that we have aren’t computer literate,” she said.

She has already collected $10,000 with a half-dozen more volunteers when they launched their first fundraiser on May 2 with David Laxton, Speaker of the Yukon legislature, as a host.

Van Bibber and other volunteers for the Yukon Cancer Fund aim to raise $100,000 so they can start distributing money to survivors and their families. She said she’s still unclear on how much will be given away.

She hopes to tell survivors to go “buy nice pair of shoes or have a nice dinner or use it for your bill that you need to pay, it’s no-questions-asked as well.”

Halliday endorses the idea. ” I think the more the merrier for cancer research. I think the more people encouraged to give in more ways that would be fantastic. And I think it’s nice to see local initiative as well, so I support that as well.”

Contact Krystle Alarcon at

krystlea@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Jodie Gibson has been named the 2020 Prospector of the Year by the Yukon Prospectors Association. (Submitted)
Jodie Gibson named 2020 Prospector of the Year

Annual award handed out by the Yukon Prospector’s Association

A number 55 is lit in honour of Travis Adams, who died earlier this year, at the Winter Wonderland Walk at Meadow Lakes Golf Club in Whitehorse on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A new take on holiday traditions

Winter Wonderland Walk, virtual Stories with Santa all part of 2020 festive events in Whitehorse

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Lev Dolgachov/123rf
The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner stressed the need to safeguard personal information while shopping this holiday season in a press release on Nov. 24.
Information and Privacy Commissioner issues reminder about shopping

The Yukon’s Information and Privacy Commissioner Diane McLeod-McKay stressed the need to… Continue reading

Most Read