• Giving Back,  relay for life

    Leduc Relay for Life 2014

    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!

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    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!

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    I love seeing familiar faces year after year. These friendly ladies are awesome! They are always smiling and laughing.

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    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!

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    Nolan and Matt obliged me and allowed me to photograph them after supper. Thank you both!

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    The Survivors kick off the event by walking the first lap while the teams cheer them on…

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    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.

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    The teams always come dressed to impress and have a lot of fun with it…

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    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.

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    Kids were having a great time at the event as well!

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    One team even set up a photo booth!

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    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.

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    With each luminary the Relayers walk by, there is both sorrow and hope represented with respect and remembrance.

    A reminder of why we Relay…

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    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.

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    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.

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    Every one of these luminaries are so very important to those who remember and honour their loved one. Love lives here…

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    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!

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    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,

    Christine

    copyright: Canadian Cancer Society

  • Giving Back,  Personal,  relay for life

    Leduc Relay for Life 2013 Part Two

    The start of our Relay was literally full of rainbows and butterflies too (thanks to Team Butterfly of Hope).

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    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.

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    it’s tricky to take a photo of our team with my long arm… lol

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    thank you Darren for taking our team photos for me!

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    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.

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    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.

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    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…

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    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…

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    This is why we relay…

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    We relay so that one day there will be a cure…

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    As the morning arrived, many luminaries still burned on with tenacity…

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    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 Remembered

    We Celebrated

    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,

    Christine

  • Giving Back,  Personal,  relay for life

    Leduc Relay for Life 2013 Part One

    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.

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    After supper, they make their way outside to gather together linked by an unspoken bond to release their balloon with pride and celebration…

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    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.

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    The enthusiastic cheering section is very appreciated to the survivors who walk the lap…

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    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….

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    BMS Bootcamps was there to lead us in a warm up, 12 hours of walking will take it’s toll on a person!

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    The team outfits were awesome this year!

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    I was honoured to be a part of team Hier Power this year…

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    As always, there was something for everyone. Bingo, Zumba, Bouncy Houses, Face painting…

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    Each team was asked to put on a game… Bra Pong was a hit!

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    Connectivity Dance did a Fabulous job entertaining everyone with their dancing talents…

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    Leduc has one of the most beautiful walking routes for the Relay…

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    As our team was walking the track, my friend Ang told me to look over the edge down to the water.

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    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.

  • Giving Back,  Personal,  relay for life

    Leduc Relay for Life 2012 Part One

    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…

    Hope 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 Celebrated.

    We Remembered.

    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.

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    After the supper, we made our way outside for the survivor group photo and balloon release.

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    They kicked off the Relay with the first lap.

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    It was so good to see familiar faces from the last two Relays.

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    This is Al, he is such a sweet man!

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    The Relay teams on their first lap…

    I think Leduc has one of the prettiest walking tracks for the Relay.

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    These two lovely angels greeted us with a “hello” at every lap, and a “Good Morning” as the sun rose.

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    The amazing team Hier Power who raised an astonishing $15,500!

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    I was honoured to be a part of Team Hope. Together we raised $8,670. I sure do love these soft-hearted girls…

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    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.

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    As I ran the track, I was very touched by the messages of encouragement to all on some of the luminaries….

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    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

  • Giving Back,  Personal,  relay for life

    Leduc Relay for Life 2012 Part Two

    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.

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    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…

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    Yes, there is Hope Dad.

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    In memory of our Aunty Lorraine. We miss her vivacious spirit and caring heart…

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    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.

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    Along this silent track there are stories that live within each luminary lit…

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    There is more loss than one person should endure in a lifetime.

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    There are tears of remembrance and hope for strength…

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    There is respect and understanding…

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    And most importantly, Hope lives at the Relay for Life.  It is the very promise that urges us to the Relay.

    Glorious Hope…

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    As I was taking these photos, the “Hope” luminaries magically transformed into “Cure”.

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    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…

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    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.

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    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?

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    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,

    Christine

    *All images are copyright of the Canadian Cancer Society

  • Giving Back,  relay for life

    Leduc Relay for Life Picture Orders

    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!

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    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 admin@christinehopaluk.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.

    Sincerely,

    Christine Hopaluk


  • Giving Back,  Personal,  Photography,  relay for life

    Leduc Relay for Life 2011 Part Two

    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.

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    Onto Part two of the Relay…

    A member of Team Mixcor Cancer Crushers, volunteered to have his head shaved at the event…

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    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!

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    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!

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    Then the snow came…

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    In Memory of my Aunty and My friend Chris who both bravely fought this devastating disease. I think of you often.

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    The snow stopped as suddenly as it started, and dawn was finally upon us…

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    Despite the snow, many luminaries continued to burn into the morning hours.

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    A special thank you to our Team Hope Captain: Jackie Martineau.  I appreciate all your hard work more than you could ever know.

    Love you!

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    Marking the end of the event, 7:00 a.m.  See you all next year…same place, same time! 🙂

    We Celebrated

    We Remembered

    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!

  • Giving Back,  Personal,  Photography,  relay for life

    Leduc Relay for Life 2011 Part One

    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”
    -Author Unknown

    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.

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    The Survivor first lap…such a powerful moment.

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    There were some great outfits this year worn by the Relayers! Team “Arrsome Maties”

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    Team Hier Power who raised just under $10,000!!! Way to go!

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    Team “F! Cancer”.  Their loyal dog walked the track all night as well through the rain and snow.

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    I was part of Team Hope, and together we raised $13,673!  Thank you to all those who supported our team!

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    I was also 1 of 3 Photographers…

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    Some creative backs 🙂 Team Mixcor Cancer Crushers who raised over $16,000!!!

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    Our Team Hope (Thank you Linda for taking our team photos):

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    Team Hier Power, love your capes…

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    Even through the rain, the face painters were there….

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    This is T. She was one of the dancers who entertained the crowd during the Relay.

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    All Images are copyright of the Canadian Cancer Society.

    Please continue reading ontoLeduc 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…

  • Giving Back,  Personal,  relay for life

    Leduc Relay for Life 2010

    The Leduc Relay for Life 2010 was an amazing event!  It was the very first relay held in Leduc, AB. and the teams that participated raised over $78,321.00!!!  Not bad for the very first year!   My friend Linda Fipke and I took pictures through out the night (inspired by our photographer friend Hope Walls who does the same thing but on a much bigger scale for the Edmonton Relay for Life).  It was an amazing experience!  Aside from documenting the event with our beloved cameras, we were also part of “Team Hope”…a mix of crazy fun-loving chicks who sported pink shirts and feather boas.  Now, I have to tell you that I’m scared of feathers and gagged my way through putting the feather boa on..I opted for a feather boa belt.  There were feathers all over the walking route and in the girls bathroom it looked like there was a pink chicken on the loose.

    Together, Team Hope raised just over $3,000!

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    If you haven’t had the opportunity to participate in a Relay for Life which are held yearly across the country, I encourage you to get a team together and participate!  I can’t even begin to put into words how amazing the experience is from the start at 7 p.m. until the end at 7 a.m.  Among the teams, there are also amazing strong individuals who have survived cancer who proudly wear their yellow shirts like badges of courage and lead the Relay by releasing their yellow balloons to the sky and walking together in the first lap.

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    The gentleman who walked behind the strong woman pictured above told me he was walking behind with the wheel chair in case she needed support, however, he said that he was having a hard time keeping up with her!

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    After the first lap led by the Survivors, the rest of the teams join in and from that time on, someone from each team is on the track for the entire 12 hours.

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    Above: this was my view for much of the night…

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    Above: What a trooper this pooch was! He walked the track for most of the night!

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    Angels were also in attendance…

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    Above: This beautiful girl shaved her head the morning of the relay to show her support.

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    There are lots of activities to check out during the event as well…Live music, face painting, bingo, outdoor movies, massages for the relayers, food donated from businesses, and a bouncy house for the kids.  The volunteers for the Relay for Life do an outstanding job and put in countless hours preparing for an event as big as this.  Thank you to all the volunteers for the Leduc Relay for Life. You are amazing!

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    And this is why we walk…

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    Luminary bags line the walking route as a reminder of why we are walking.  By the time the sun goes down, the bags are lit and cast a beautiful glow to all those that walk the route.  Each bag signifies a special someone who has won, lost, or continues the fight with cancer.  When you see all the luminary bags lit, it takes your breathe away and it’s easy to remember why we have all come together to fight back.

    I relay in Memory of my Aunty Lorraine.  Click HERE to read the “Why I Relay” post I wrote before the Relay.

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    “Team Hier Power” relays in memory of Jon. Their team raised over $10,000 in Jon’s memory.

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    Sometime during the night, the “Hope” luminaries pictured above turned into “Cure”.

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    By 7:00 a.m. the teams rallied together and walked one final lap after we honoured the shining stars of the event…the volunteers, and the top earning team of over $10,000 “Hier Power”.  Way to go!!!

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    The last picture I took marking the hour and gripping my precious Timmy’s cup!

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    Great job to all who participated in the Leduc Relay for Life.

    We Celebrated…

    We Remembered…

    but most importantly..

    We FOUGHT BACK!

    All images above are copyright to the Canadian Cancer Society.

  • Photography,  relay for life

    Team Clickin’ Cancer’s Butt!!!

    I didn’t manage to get photos of all the photographers that volunteered for the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Edmonton, but here are a few of them!  We are Team Clickin’ Cancer’s Butt 1/1ooth second at a time 🙂

    Here’s the link to the rest of the story: http://christinehopaluk.wordpress.com/2009/05/27/a-picture-story-of-hope/

    To my photographer team mates: if you would like to add your team Clickin’ Cancer’s Butt photos to this set, feel free to watermark them and send them to me and I’ll add them to this post.  admin (at) christinehopaluk (dot) com

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    Our fearless leader dressed in her cape (she made capes for all of us!):
    Hope Walls

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    Her family even came out to show their support

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    Now that’s dedication, strapping not only a camera on, but also a baby 🙂

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