Gearing up for the Relay for Life

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By Nick Seebruch
Gearing up for the Relay for Life

MAXVILLE, Ontario – The 2019 edition of Relay for Life is quickly approaching. This annual charity fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society allows them to run programs and services that support those going through some of the most difficult times of their lives.

Taking place on Friday, June 7 at the Maxville Fairgrounds, the Relay for Life is attended by hundreds, and raises tens of thousands of dollars. Last year’s event brought in $82,000.

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“At Relay, we celebrate those who live and have lived in the face of cancer and those moving past cancer. With 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, our goal is to improve the cancer experience by helping people live longer and enhancing their quality of life. We believe that when we really together, COMMUNITY is bigger than cancer,” said Allison St-Jean, Community Fundraising Specialist, Canadian Cancer Society SDG & Prescott Russell.

That money goes towards programs like the Relay for Life wig shop, located at the Care Centre in Cornwall, their Wheels of Hope program, which helps patients get to their many appointments, and the Maurice J. Grimes Lodge in Ottawa that gives cancer patients a place to stay while being treated. All of these services and programs have been used by Belinda McGillivary at some point in the past six years.

McGillivary was diagnosed with High Grade Stage 4 Ovarian cancer in 2013. She said that when she was diagnosed, she was already feeling unwell, and while she cried a little, was mostly shocked.

She quickly entered treatment and began receiving chemo therapy.

This was also the first year that she participated in the Relay for Life.

“While still undergoing treatment I decided that I want to spread awareness about ovarian cancer and decided to join my friend with her Relay For Life team in 2013,” she said in a statement to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Over the past six years, Belinda McGillivary has gone into remission, and then relapsed on two occasions. She is now fighting stage 4 High Grade Progressive epithelial ovarian cancer.

McGillivary says that the most important thing to understand is that life is not over at the time of diagnosis.

“Just because you are diagnosed with stage 4 doesn’t mean it is the end,” she said. “As long as you’re fighting, there is still life to live.”

She encourages women to look for the signs of ovarian cancer, as it is often silent until stage 3 or 4.

READ MORE: On World Cancer Day Evelyn Berniqué shares her story

“Relay isn’t about cancer. It’s about people. People, like Belinda, who are living with the disease and moving past it. Belinda is a force of hope and is helping those facing cancer to see beyond their diagnosis. She is living proof that progress is being made against cancer,” St. Jean said.

See the Canadian Cancer Society website for more information about this year’s Relay for Life and to register or donate.

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