BY ANDREW SMITH
LISTOWEL – Snow may be in the air, but people are being asked to look ahead to sunny days and the eighth annual Relay for Life in North Perth.
Event chair Lauren Williams is inviting members of the community to attend a planning meeting tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 7 p.m. at Listowel Wood Products on Fairway Road. Williams said this is the first real opportunity to take a look at this year’s Relay, planned for Friday, June 14.
“It’s always good to get new ideas and fresh perspectives,” she said. “Just because you do something a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the right way or needs to continue.”
Williams said the meeting is open to anyone wanting to be part of a committee for the annual Canadian Cancer Society fundraiser, or to just volunteer in another capacity.
“It is a committee meeting, but anyone is welcome to come and just find out what we’re about,” she said. “They’re not committed to being on a committee just because they show up, but we’ll probably try and convince them.”
Registration for teams is already available online, with the first team meeting in Listowel planned for March 20, at the Listowel Agricultural Hall. Williams said there were just over 30 teams registered last year, and she hopes to meet or surpass that number.
“We’re happy to equal other years, but if we can surpass them, that’s always bonus,” she said.
However, Williams says her biggest goal this year as chair is to increase the number of cancer survivors taking part in the survivors’ lap.
“Survivors play an important part in our event,” she said. “They are inspirational to those who are currently fighting cancer, along with people who have just been diagnosed with the disease.”
Williams said there were approximately 70 people taking part in the last year’s survivors’ lap, as spectators lined the track and cheered them on. Williams said she knows there are cancer survivors who have never attended a Relay for Life event.
“Whether it’s too early in their recovery or they just don’t want people to know they had cancer, I think there’s a lot of people who are survivors and have never even been to the event,” she said. “Even just to sit in the stands and see what happens, they might be encouraged to come out another year.”
The invitation to the North Perth Relay for Life and planning meetings was also extended to residents in Wingham and Huron County, as there may not be an event there this year.
“They’d be more than welcome to join us as volunteers or come out to our event and participate,” Williams said.
Williams said people can contact her for more information at 519-292-0063 or firstname.lastname@example.org and that everyone should consider this as their invitation to take part.
“They never volunteered because they were never asked, they weren’t on a team because they were never asked,” she said. “Hopefully this article in the paper will be an indication that this is their ask.”