Once again, the amazing people of Leduc came together to collectively raise $58,900 towards the fight against cancer in the 2014 Leduc Relay for Life!
This year the Leduc Relay for Life was blessed with the highest turnout in history of 75 amazing Survivors.
What a beautiful group of strength and courage!
The night started with the Survivor Reception to honour & celebrate those who have a common bond of strength. A special thank you to M&M Country Catering for the beautiful dinner you provided. Everyone absolutely loved it, so delicious!
I love seeing familiar faces year after year. These friendly ladies are awesome! They are always smiling and laughing.
Nolan Yaremko spoke so eloquently about his journey and displayed all the beads he received as he bravely fought cancer. He’s an amazing young man!
Nolan and Matt obliged me and allowed me to photograph them after supper. Thank you both!
The Survivors kick off the event by walking the first lap while the teams cheer them on…
The Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is an all night family friendly event starting at 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Teams take turns (or walk together) all through the night to bring funds and awareness in the fight against Cancer.
The top fundraising team was Team Hier Power. Yearly they bring in an incredible amount of funds with a whole lot of passion in honour and in memory of loved ones. They are most definitely a powerful force of support and love.
The teams always come dressed to impress and have a lot of fun with it…
Team Kako couldn’t be with their loved ones as they Relayed in Eastern Canada (Nova Scotia if I remember correctly), so they Relayed through the miles in Leduc.
Kids were having a great time at the event as well!
One team even set up a photo booth!
When you are walking along the path marked by luminaries symbolizing a loved one with cancer, it gives you the opportunity to visit with other relayers and hear their stories. I had the good fortune to meet a very special Mother who handed out Dora stickers in memory of her Angel daughter Meaghan. She recalled memories of decorating Meaghan’s hospital room for all the holidays, and at times the holiday decor would overlap. Christmas and Halloween settling in together in harmony to bring a little girl some cheer during long days.
She told me about her daughter’s amazing spirit of positivity and strength. Meaghan touched the heart of every person she met. Her loving Mom walked the track passing Meaghan’s luminary and with each lap she honoured her daughter’s memory with her enduring love that will always live within her cherished memories.
With each luminary the Relayers walk by, there is both sorrow and hope represented with respect and remembrance.
A reminder of why we Relay…
As the darkness settled in, the luminary ceremony began. Cheryl Hier spoke straight from her kind heart and the whole room was touched by her words. We all made our way to our luminaries to light them and take a moment to remember and honour those we love/support and those we have lost to this devastating disease.
It is with a sad heart as I recall my very first relay when I lit one luminary…this year I lit 6. Words can’t describe how much I love these amazing people.
Every one of these luminaries are so very important to those who remember and honour their loved one. Love lives here…
This event wouldn’t be possible without the hard work and dedication of the committee that volunteers their precious time to organize it all. Thank you so much for all the things you do, both big and small!
If you are viewing this blog post and you see a photo you wish to order, please contact me via the contact section here,
or email me: admin [at] christinehopaluk.com
All proceeds from the sale of photos will go directly to the Canadian Cancer Society.
See you at next year’s Relay for Life!
From my heart to yours,
copyright: Canadian Cancer Society
The start of our Relay was literally full of rainbows and butterflies too (thanks to Team Butterfly of Hope).
As the sun set, we gathered around the stage to celebrate the incredible amount of funds that each team brought into the event for the Canadian Cancer Society.
it’s tricky to take a photo of our team with my long arm… lol
thank you Darren for taking our team photos for me!
Laurie beautifully spoke from her giving heart about love and loss while the relayers huddled around one another in support and understanding. It was a touching tribute for the Luminary ceremony.
After a moment of silence in memory and honour of all those affected by cancer, everyone made their way to their luminaries. I can’t begin to describe the emotion that floats and lives along the track. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Remembrance, love, loss, respect, mourning, honour, thanksgiving, celebration…It’s all of that and so much more.
I’m so thankful for my Dad who received amazing news this year that his prostate cancer levels are as close to zero as it can possibly get…
These are just a few of the luminaries that lit our path as we walked during the night. Each luminary signifies a precious, important, loved-to-the core life…
This is why we relay…
We relay so that one day there will be a cure…
As the morning arrived, many luminaries still burned on with tenacity…
We huddled together for the closing ceremonies and walked our last lap together. It was an amazing night, and us relayers will be back next year to do it all again. If there is a Relay for Life near you, put together a team and join in. Your heart will forever be changed.
We Fought Back!
Click HERE to go to my photography Facebook page where I’ve uploaded more photos from the event. I will continue to add photos to it as I edit. If anyone wishes to order a print of one of the photos you see here, please use the contact form on this blog to send me an e-mail or give me a call at 780.980.0703. All proceeds will go directly to the Canadian Cancer Society.
From my heart to yours,
The 2013 Leduc Relay for Life was once again an amazing event. From 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. we relayed with love and pride and collectively we raised almost $80,000! A HUGE thank you goes out to all the organizers, survivors, supporters, and those who donated their time and funds all in the fight to make Cancer history.
The Relay for Life is more than just an overnight event to raise funds for cancer research, it’s a living breathing entity that pitches a tent within your heart and lives there because of the people involved. Their stories of survival and hope will never be forgotten…combine Hope and Love, and you have one powerful force. If you haven’t had the chance to be part of a relay, what are you waiting for?! I promise, it will touch your heart in a big way.
The evening starts out celebrating the survivors with a much deserved banquet. The room is a sea of yellow, the colour signifying strength and wisdom.
After supper, they make their way outside to gather together linked by an unspoken bond to release their balloon with pride and celebration…
Together they start the Relay by walking the first lap while everyone cheers them on. The lap is .7 km, so it really is quite a distance around. I’m always in awe of the impressive display of determination and pride.
The enthusiastic cheering section is very appreciated to the survivors who walk the lap…
Just as the survivors were done their lap, it was time for the team laps. The rain started quickly and poured on all of us. Within half a lap I couldn’t believe my eyes at the beautiful rainbow that covered the sky around us….
BMS Bootcamps was there to lead us in a warm up, 12 hours of walking will take it’s toll on a person!
The team outfits were awesome this year!
I was honoured to be a part of team Hier Power this year…
As always, there was something for everyone. Bingo, Zumba, Bouncy Houses, Face painting…
Each team was asked to put on a game… Bra Pong was a hit!
Connectivity Dance did a Fabulous job entertaining everyone with their dancing talents…
Leduc has one of the most beautiful walking routes for the Relay…
As our team was walking the track, my friend Ang told me to look over the edge down to the water.
Through out the night, symbolism was all around…first with the double rainbow that covered the track to start the Relay, and also within these delicate eggs. Such precious cargo amongst frigid water, wind, and debris . Through such adversity, life forges on with a little help and support.
Although the weather forecast was for thunder showers, wind, and rain, we lucked out for the night.
Click HERE to view Part Two of the Relay.
I’ve been avoiding writing this post, because I struggle with articulating just how much the Relay for Life means to me and to all who participate in this event. You would be hard-pressed to find a single person who hasn’t been touched by cancer in some way. Some more than others to such a devastating extent that it keeps me up at night questioning “why”. There of course is no rational explanation to the whirl wind of destruction that accompanies cancer. It’s an entity unto it’s own…a dark presence that invades and seeps into daily life you can’t seem to run from like one’s own shadow.
When I see the pain of a cancer diagnosis within my friend’s families, there are a huge range of emotions…from empathy, to sympathy, to helplessness, to understanding, yet there are also feelings of guilt because we as a family have been blessed with good news regarding my father’s cancer journey. While we are over-the-moon happy about his recent test that revealed his levels are close to zero, there is so much cancer within several friend’s lives that within our gratitude and bliss we also wish and pray that they too receive the same positive news. And this year has brought with it heart break, as I witnessed my friends suffer through indescribable heart ache as cancer ripped apart their lives through the loss of mothers and fathers.
I pray for HOPE because purpose lives within hope. Every year that has passed since cancer invaded our peaceful family life, I’m shocked at how it has changed us all. How it contorts and alters the way we view life. There are positives within that change of mindset; there is much understanding and love when you can look into the eyes of a loved who is suffering through an all too familiar pain. So yes, there is power within understanding and healing within support and sharing.
It serves as a reminder to cherish this crazy ride called life and to show a ridiculous amount of love to others. It also lights a fire within my heart to do something, anything to fight the cancer demon. The only way I can find purpose within cancer is to walk in the Relay for Life to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society to find a cure for cancer. I’m honoured to once again document the event through photography as well.
I can’t begin to express my gratitude for all the donations that have poured in on behalf of my father (and on behalf of your own loved one) over the past couple of years that I’ve participated in Leduc’s Relay for Life. Every single donation made is passed on to my Dad through our conversations and I get to share your stories of strength, devotion, and kindness along with who you are as a person. Here’s an example of our conversation: “Guess what Dad, my friend Jackie just made a donation to Relay for Life, she’s a spitfire of a girl. Mom to 3 active girls who talk her ear off. She actually bakes the things she pins on Pinterest. (insert 10 minute conversation explaining what Pinterest is). She’s a kind-hearted woman who has suffered through her own loss within her family because of cancer. She’s supported you with a generous donation today.” For a lover of stories like my Dad, that’s a pretty big deal and he calls often for updates. 😉 So if you have donated to my pledge page, please know my Dad knows you by name and he’s invested in your life simply because of your kindness and generosity.
This year I relay once again in Memory of my brave and strong Aunty Lorraine and my dear kind friend Chris. Missed so…
I relay in honour of my childhood friend Tara who is battling Breast Cancer. Even in the face of the biggest trial of her young life, she forges on with positivity and such strength of spirit that it brings me to tears. I’m so proud to know her.
I relay in honour of my Aunt Elda who is laying in pain in a hospital bed after surgery to remove cancer from the body she’s always taken such good care of.
I will be relaying on Team Hier Power this year. Team Hier Power has raised over $10,000 every year in Leduc and they do so in memory of my friend Cheryl’s husband Jon. I can feel his memory & spirit within Cheryl’s eyes as she reminisces their time cut short. She loves him with no boundaries. Their kids are so beautiful, and they walk along side of their Mom. Cheryl’s heart is huge as is her passion and determination to raise funds.
And of course I relay for my kind-hearted Dad. His PSA levels are almost zero and his new treatments are working well. Thank you God! When the doctor shared the latest test results with him he told me he just sat and cried with gratitude.
This past couple of years that Dad has been battling cancer has felt like a fog, It’s also served as a lesson in love, a test in faith, and the immense strength of the human spirit.
I have set a fundraising goal for this year’s Relay for Life held on June 14th in Leduc, Alberta and I need your support! We can make a difference my friends, there is no amount to small. How much money do we spend on coffee, suppers out, movie nights, clothes…why not donate even a little towards finding a cure for cancer; a disease that affects us all in some capacity. We can make a difference, every fibre of my being believes we can. Every penny helps and I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for the support.
Let’s join together to make cancer history.
To donate, simply click this link: http://convio.cancer.ca/goto/chrissyhopaluk
Thank you so much for reading my post, sorry it was a bit of a novel! 😉
From my heart to yours,
I’m not sure I can articulate the range of emotion that lives within a Relay for Life event. My eyes have changed through the years of volunteering as a photographer at the Relay. Five years ago, my dear friend Hope Walls introduced me to the Edmonton Relay for Life event and within minutes my heart was taken by the amazing people that walked the track all of which share a common bond…cancer. Three years ago, my home city Leduc held their very first Relay for Life. My friend Jackie registered “Team Hope” and for the first time I was able to participate in the event as a Relayer along with my lovely girlfriends. I relayed in memory of my Aunty Lorraine, and my friend Chris. Little did I know that just months after walking the track in Leduc’s first Relay, my Dad would be diagnosed with prostate cancer. And so my eyes changed as our family rallied around my Father as he bravely fought cancer. You view life differently when cancer seeps in, some days it invades like a flood and other days like a dripping tap. But it’s always there, hiding in the shadows. I quickly learned cancer is a family disease.
This year as the Relay approached, I put off fundraising a little longer than I usually do and I even considered not participating in the relay…because it hurt. It’s been a tough year of treatment for my Dad. And then I realized that’s the whole point. That’s the reason I Relay…To raise funds to fight the monster. To find purpose within chaos. To etch Hope into the landscape of this beautiful life. To support my Father, because he deserves all the support we can give. I set out to raise what I could and littered my facebook news-feed with pleas for donations.
And then something happened…
I was reduced to tears as the generosity and support of my friends and family poured in to the tune of $5,000.
This Relay for Life, more than any other, held so much meaning. It represents loss and sorrow. It represents the power of community, support, and friendship.
But above all, the Relay for Life represents Hope.
We Fought Back.
Up first was the Survivor banquet.
Let me introduce you to Matt. He’s an incredibly strong man with a powerful story of survival. After he was done speaking, one gentleman stood up in appreciation and the whole room followed suit.
After the supper, we made our way outside for the survivor group photo and balloon release.
They kicked off the Relay with the first lap.
It was so good to see familiar faces from the last two Relays.
This is Al, he is such a sweet man!
The Relay teams on their first lap…
I think Leduc has one of the prettiest walking tracks for the Relay.
These two lovely angels greeted us with a “hello” at every lap, and a “Good Morning” as the sun rose.
The amazing team Hier Power who raised an astonishing $15,500!
I was honoured to be a part of Team Hope. Together we raised $8,670. I sure do love these soft-hearted girls…
Even if you aren’t participating in the Relay, the event is a wonderful place to bring the kids for some fun. There’s always lots to see and do.
The Leduc Kanata Gymnastics Club put on an amazing show of young talent.
As I ran the track, I was very touched by the messages of encouragement to all on some of the luminaries….
We were blessed with beautiful weather, it was even made sweeter as we remembered last year’s June snow storm. The sun shone brilliantly warming all of us Relayers on the track.
Click here for PART TWO of the Relay. It was a beautiful sight to see when the sun went down.
*All images are copyright of the Canadian Cancer Society
As the sun went down, Christine McCourt made her way to the stage to speak at the Luminary Ceremony. Her speech touched all of our hearts. She is such a strong, devoted, and empathetic woman.
After a moment of silence we made our way to our luminaries to light them.
In honour of my soft-hearted Dad Ralph Dicke, who greets each day with a smile and a heart full of gratitude…
Yes, there is Hope Dad.
In memory of our Aunty Lorraine. We miss her vivacious spirit and caring heart…
In memory of my dear friend Chris who’s infectious laughter still sings within my memory. I wish I could stop by her house for a coffee and talk about how amazing her daughter is.
Along this silent track there are stories that live within each luminary lit…
There is more loss than one person should endure in a lifetime.
There are tears of remembrance and hope for strength…
There is respect and understanding…
And most importantly, Hope lives at the Relay for Life. It is the very promise that urges us to the Relay.
As I was taking these photos, the “Hope” luminaries magically transformed into “Cure”.
In Part One, I introduced you to “Al”. He told me that he had a luminary along the track in memory of his Mom. It was only when I downloaded these photos that I realized I laid down in front of his precious luminary to take this photo…
Given the much better weather, the night flew by fast and before we knew it the sun peaked over the skyline. I walked by this devoted young team enjoying the sunrise.
7:00 a.m. marked the end of the Relay and as we were came together for the closing ceremony, I turned around and saw the same team that enjoyed that sunrise gathered together in a supportive group hug.
How amazing is that?
Thank you to the organizing committee of this year’s Leduc Relay for Life. You did an amazing job. Much respect!
Click HERE to go to my facebook page where I’ve uploaded more photos from the event. I will continue to add photos to it as I edit. If anyone wishes to order a print of one of the photos you see here, please use the contact form on this blog to send me an e-mail or give me a call at 780.980.0703. All proceeds will go directly to the Canadian Cancer Society.
See you next year,
*All images are copyright of the Canadian Cancer Society
Many of you have supported my Father’s journey as he’s been fighting Prostate cancer. You have no idea how much your well wishes, thoughts, prayers, and support means to my Dad.
You see my Dad is the most social person I have ever met. His smile lights up a room, and he loves to meet new people. In fact where ever we go, most often than not he runs into someone he knows. This happens in the most obscure and remote areas. I can only assume it is his mission to talk to every human he comes into contact with.
His heart is so generous. He would give you the shirt off his back, and he would even buy you an extra one. The very thing that drives him forward in life is to help others with words of kindness, gestures big and small, and the gift of his accepting heart.
He makes me proud of him daily. My heart also breaks for him daily as he struggles with his health.
Cancer has taken little pieces away from my Dad that are a part of who he is as a man. It has invaded parts of his pride, dignity, joy, energy, and health. However,
cancerhas not succeeded in taking away any part of his Faith nor his Hope. If anything, it has allowed his Faith and Hope to grow and by sharing his story, he has supported and uplifted others who share and understand this fight.
Here’s the thing, talk ing about
canceris uncomfortable. It’s ugly. But how can we not talk about it? I don’t know many people who aren’t touched by cancer in some way. But what if we didn’t talk about it? What if we kept all talk of cancer behind closed doors because it’s too personal to talk about? How will we ever hope to find a cure if we don’t do something? How would we raise awareness?
But I have to share something that
cancerhas given us as a family. This ugly disease has brought our family closer. It’s taught us to appreciate the gift of health, because it is indeed a gift. It’s taught us to value life, cherish those we love, tell our loved ones how much they mean to us, laugh a little more, and complain a lot less. And don’t sweat the small stuff!
I know I’ve shared photos of my Dad before, but here’s a little video featuring my soft-hearted Dad. (Click the link below)
On June 15th, 2012 I will once again be joining Team Hope in the Leduc Relay for Life as a way to fight back.
From 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. we will be walking the track in honour of my Dad, in memory of my Aunt Lorraine and my friend Chris, and in honour/memory of my team mate’s loved ones. I’m excited to capture the event through photography as well, click HERE to view photos from last year’s Relay. If you would like to join the fight by making a donation, please click:
All donations big and small make a difference! The Canadian Cancer Society advance in their research towards finding a cure each year with the help of your donations. You can make a difference. No one can take away our hope. Let’s join together to fight this fight. If we don’t come together to make a difference, who will?
I will leave you with a photo of my Dad taken on Easter Sunday. Awww, he’s so cute.
From my Dad’s heart to yours,
The photos from all three photographers at the Leduc Relay for Life on June 3rd, 2011 are now available to view online! All proceeds from the sale of photos go directly to the Canadian Cancer Society. It’s a way to raise even more funds in the fight to end cancer and you’ll receive photos to remember the event at the same time!
Please visit my website at: http://www.christinehopaluk.com/index2.php
Click the “Proofing” tab on the top menu and enter the password (lowercase, all one word): relay4life
The deadline for ordering is July 1st. While you can order prints directly through the website; payment will be handled at the time of pickup so please do not pay online. The organizers of the Leduc Relay for Life will have a table set up at the Leduc Recreation Centre on July 13th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. where you can come and pick up your photo order. Please bring Cash Payment for your order as the organizers are handling the payment for photos to be donated directly to the Canadian Cancer Society.
If you have any questions about ordering, or if the photo order pick-up date of July 13th does not work for you, please e-mail me at email@example.com or give me a call at 780-980-0703.
This is the first year photos from Leduc Relay have been available for purchase as a fundraiser, so it’s a work in progress!
Thank you to all the volunteers, relayers, and survivors who came out to show their support for the Relay.
Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.
In the hours leading up to the event, I prayed the snow and rain would stay away; however, the snow was fitting actually. It was reminiscent of what my Dad and our family has gone through since his cancer diagnosis…beautiful sunshine one day, and then suddenly a storm the next day. Cancer brings forward emotions that one has never felt before. Anger, pain, disbelief, sadness, perseverance, strength, and hope. We Relay to one day make cancer history.
Onto Part two of the Relay…
A member of Team Mixcor Cancer Crushers, volunteered to have his head shaved at the event…
Just before the Luminary Ceremony, friends of ours who are volunteers at the Edmonton Relay for Life visited to show their support (And I’m sorry to say there are two people missing from this photo of good-hearted supporters, Trina and Omari). Thank you!
The Luminary ceremony was next. I was asked to speak briefly. I cried all the way through it! Seeing what my Father has gone through this past year carries so much pain in my heart, and it’s a fresh wound. I sat with him at the Cross Cancer Institute for his first radiation treatment on the Monday before the Relay. Click HERE to read about it.
My Dad continues to fight with a smile on his face, and a kind word to everyone who crosses his path. I’m so proud of him…
I was so overtaken with emotion, I didn’t take many photos of the luminary ceremony as I usually do. Please accept my apology!
Then the snow came…
In Memory of my Aunty and My friend Chris who both bravely fought this devastating disease. I think of you often.
The snow stopped as suddenly as it started, and dawn was finally upon us…
Despite the snow, many luminaries continued to burn into the morning hours.
A special thank you to our Team Hope Captain: Jackie Martineau. I appreciate all your hard work more than you could ever know.
Marking the end of the event, 7:00 a.m. See you all next year…same place, same time! 🙂
We Fought Back!!!
All Images are copyright to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Please check out the other two Photographer’s blogs! I know they are still adding to their blog posts as I post this, so remember to check back!
Tawny of Tawny Lee Photography: http://justagirlwithhercamera.blogspot.com/2011/06/must-get-this-out-so-i-can-finally-lay.html
Linda of LMK Photography: http://photographybylmk.blogspot.com/2011/06/leduc-relay-for-life.html
*Update June 14: The photos are online! Please visit http://christinehopaluk.com/blog/2011/06/14/leduc-relay-for-life-picture-orders/ for details!
I’m having an incredibly hard time finding the words for this blog post. The Leduc Relay for Life 2011 was an amazing event full of tears, laughter, support, and love. Altogether, Leduc Relay for Life raised an incredible $109,331 dollars exceeding their fundraising goals! Amazing! A HUGE thank you goes out to all the organizers of the Relay. Your countless volunteer hours is greatly appreciated!
I wish I could include every photo I took (all images are copyright of the Canadian Cancer Society); however, In 2 weeks, photos from all three of us photographers will be available to purchase through my website*. Please stay tuned on this blog for more info or follow the Leduc Relay for Life facebook page for updates! All proceeds from the sale of photos goes directly to the Canadian Cancer Society. It’s a way to raise even more funds for our Relay. *Update June 14: The photos are online! Please visit http://christinehopaluk.com/blog/2011/06/14/leduc-relay-for-life-picture-orders/ for details!
I have always been honoured to be a part of the Relay for Life in the past, but this year’s Relay was incredibly close to my heart as my Dad is fighting prostate cancer and started his radiation treatment just last week. If you are interested in reading more about my Dad’s story, click HERE.
The Relay kicked off with the Survivor Banquet, a tribute to all those who have bravely fought their own personal cancer battle. As I stood in the hall listening to those courageous souls share their stories, I was overcome with emotion. Your strength, bravery, tenacity, and unyielding will to fight is amazing. Thank you for sharing your stories of Hope and Courage.
“What Cancer Cannot Do”
Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love
It cannot shatter hope
It cannot corrode faith
It cannot destroy peace
It cannot kill friendship(s)
It cannot suppress memories
It cannot silence courage
It cannot invade the soul
It cannot steal eternal life
It cannot conquer the spirit.
The song “I Will Stand by You” by Rascal Flatts played during the first laps. I invite you to click here ——> A Song for Survivors and listen while you scroll through these photos. Thank you to all the survivors and care-givers who attended the event and started things off by walking the first laps…you are the reason we Relay.
The Celebrating Survivors Banner carries messages of Hope to others. The Survivors then carry this banner of courage for the balloon release and the first lap of the relay.
The Survivor first lap…such a powerful moment.
There were some great outfits this year worn by the Relayers! Team “Arrsome Maties”
Team Hier Power who raised just under $10,000!!! Way to go!
Team “F! Cancer”. Their loyal dog walked the track all night as well through the rain and snow.
I was part of Team Hope, and together we raised $13,673! Thank you to all those who supported our team!
I was also 1 of 3 Photographers…
Some creative backs 🙂 Team Mixcor Cancer Crushers who raised over $16,000!!!
Our Team Hope (Thank you Linda for taking our team photos):
Team Hier Power, love your capes…
Even through the rain, the face painters were there….
This is T. She was one of the dancers who entertained the crowd during the Relay.
All Images are copyright of the Canadian Cancer Society.
Please continue reading onto “Leduc Relay for Life Part 2″
This is when the snow makes it’s appearance. Yes, that’s right, snow on June 3rd. Only in Alberta…