• Giving Back,  Personal

    Why I Relay for Life 2012

    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, cancer has 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 cancer is 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 cancer has 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)

    Why I Relay for Life Video 2012

    On June 15th, 2012 I will once again be joining Team Hope in the Leduc Relay for Life as a way to fight back.

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    Team Hope, Last year 2011

    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.

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    From my Dad’s heart to yours,


  • 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.


    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,  Photography

    Why I Relay for Life 2011

    Last year, I blogged this post about why I Relay for Life in memory of my beloved Aunty Lorraine who lost her battle with Cancer. http://christinehopaluk.com/blog/2010/04/26/why-i-relay-for-life/

    She is missed deeply by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing her. She was a courageous, vivacious, and amazing woman.

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    Last year, I participated in the Leduc Relay for Life as part of “Team Hope” (a fun bunch of passionate women dressed in pink and feather boas), as well as a photographer for the event.  http://christinehopaluk.com/blog/2010/06/07/leduc-relay-for-life-2010/

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    Team Hope is kicking some cancer butt once again! On June 3rd, 2011 in Leduc, AB., we are once again Relaying for Life. I am also honoured to photograph this year’s relay as well. I can’t begin to describe the experience that is the Relay for Life.  It’s an event full of Respect, Love, Support, and most importantly Hope.  Starting at 7:00 p.m., our team will walk, run, dance the walking track for the 12-hour overnight event until 7:00 a.m, along with a host of other teams and survivors. At all times someone from our team will be walking the track, which is why it is called a Relay.

    The first Relay for Life event happened in 1999, and since then teams have been unifying friends and families to come together at the Relay for Life events across Canada to not only raise funds, but in…

    Celebration of Survivors,

    Remembering those Lost,

    and Fighting Back to Find a CURE.

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    It’s incredibly humbling and touching to walk past the thousands of lit luminaries that mark the relay route. Each luminary represents a special loved one who is presently fighting, has won the fight, or has lost the fight to cancer.

    When you look at the photograph below, please remember that each one of these illuminated bags represents a FIGHTER.

    These Luminaries represent a….











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    I have to tell you friends, that I have one more incredibly close-to-my-heart reasons to Relay for Life because of the events that transpired within my family last year…incidentally, just a few weeks after the 2010 Leduc Relay for Life.

    My Father, Ralph Dicke, was diagnosed with Prostate cancer by the end of the summer last year just weeks after I took the picture below.

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    I remember the exact moment when I learned of his diagnosis.  I was editing a photo of a Father cuddling his children when my Mom phoned with the devastating news.  All I could think was “Please God, not my Father.”

    My Dad decided after much deliberation to undergo surgery as a treatment, and in December he went in for the surgery.  My Dad, Sister, and I took the photo below the night before his surgery.  He’s sporting his “Movember” moustache.  He did amazingly well through the surgery, and was so strong throughout the recovery period.  We were very optimistic that after removing the prostate he would be cancer-free.

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    Over the past month after more tests, he was told that he will require more treatment, as his levels have risen…an indicator that the cancer is still there. This month he will be visiting the Cross Cancer Institute to meet with the specialists to discuss and plan a course of treatment to fight the residual cancer.

    When I see all that my father has had to endure these past few months, it leaves me feeling helpless and so full of anger.  I want to fight back.

    The Relay for Life event allows me, you, anyone to fight back by raising funds and awareness.  I know there are so many worthy organizations and causes out there in desperate need of funds to continue research and support.  However, I believe one would be hard-pressed to find a person today that has NOT been affected by cancer in some way. It’s devastating to say the least.

    I took this screen shot from the Canadian Cancer Society’s Website. The general cancer statistics are cause for great concern. Another reason to join the fight to end cancer.

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    THIS is why I Relay for Life.  When you pledge your support at the Relay for Life, this is where your money goes.


    What can YOU do to help

    ? One way you can help join the fight is to support me by making a donation. This cause is an important one, and we can truly make a difference together. You can be part of a community that takes up the fight. I am humbly asking for donations of whatever you can find it in your heart to give to help make cancer history.

    Online pledging is secure and it saves the Society money by reducing administrative costs – it means the money you give can go further to help the fight against cancer.

    Simply click the link below to go to my personal page to make a donation.




    Fight Back.

    On behalf of my father, and my entire family, we thank you so much for your support.


    I truly appreciate it!

    From my heart to yours,