Relay goes the distance, but numbers down

By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario – The 15th annual Relay for Life in Maxville raised $200,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society on Saturday.

For Jordan Coleman and Judy Jackson-Hebert, it was the end of a fundraising era.

The duo collected a whopping $30,000 from the ninth and final year of “Jordan & Judy’s Shave For Cancer” event in May, for their relay team. Over the span of 15 years, they’ve raised over $120,000 towards the fight against cancer.

I think everyone here has a story to tell,” said Coleman, 24, who lives in Ottawa and grew up near family friend Jackson-Hebert in Monkland. “I’ve been in remission for 21 years, so it hits home.”

At just a year old, he was diagnosed with liver cancer, which quickly spread to his blood, bone, lungs and lymph nodes. Coleman spent much of the next two years of his life at CHEO.

“The Canadian Cancer Society is the biggest fighter nation-wide against the disease,” he said.

“They fund research grants, drive patients to treatment, and fight our battle at parliament hill trying to create legislation to protect us. The way they can do all this is through people coming out to events like this and raising money.”

For 12 hours, 60 teams looped the Kenyon Agricultural Society Fairgrounds to help end the deadly disease.

The local event saw some big changes this year. Instead of being held from 7 p.m. on a Friday to 7 a.m. the next day, it now runs on Saturday from noon until midnight.

The SDG and Prescott-Russell branch of the Canadian Cancer Society, based in Cornwall, also organized a new Relay for Life fundraiser event in neighbouring Alfred-Plantagenet, which is scheduled for June 12.

Carolyn Bourassa, community manager of the society’s local branch, said the event has been seeing a decline in participation and fundraising dollars for the last five years.

Our numbers have been going down quite significantly, which happened again this year, however getting the word out that we’ve made some changes and it’s still fun really helps,” said Bourassa.

In 2014, 93 teams helped raise $250,000.

Locally, we spend about $120,000 annually on our Wheels of Hope program, which is taking your neighbours to their treatments in Ottawa,” she said.

Another Relay event kicks off at Crysler Park in Morrisburg from noon to 2 a.m. on Saturday, June 20.

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