The Wild Wally Women was one of 10 teams that participated in the 2015 Elk Valley Relay for Life. This year's theme was Mardi Gras.

Elk Valley residents rally for relay

The annual Elk Valley Relay for Life was held in Sparwood on Saturday, June 20 to raise funds to battle cancer.

The annual Elk Valley Relay for Life was held in Sparwood on Saturday, June 20 to raise funds to battle cancer.

This year’s relay saw 75 participants and 10 teams take to the track at the Sparwood Pool and Leisure Centre. The participants themselves collected beads for each lap they took throughout the day’s 12-hour event.

Entertainment was provided throughout the day by local musicians and other fun activities including yoga, a scavenger hunt, mask making to coincide with the relay’s Mardi Gras theme.

“We wanted to try and make the event as fun we could and Mardi Gras seemed to fit that,” explained event coordinator Tracey Brook-Baker.

Head shaves were also on the day’s schedule for attendees to donate their shorn locks to wig programs for cancer patients.

“It’s so important having local events like this,” said Brook-Baker. “What’s important to remember is that the funds raised do help local residents. It’s not just for research, it does help people who need assistance in funding for travel as well as the wig bank and prosthetic bank based out of Cranbrook.”

Brook-Baker said her efforts for Relay for Life are attributed to her mother — a two-time cancer survivor currently battling breast cancer.

“It’s definitely a cause that’s close to my heart,” she said.

The Elk Valley Relay for Life had a fundraising goal of $36,920. By Saturday morning, they had reached approximately half that number.

“With all the donations rolling in today, I’m sure we’ll hit it,” assured Brook-Baker.

As of Saturday morning, the Sparwood Walk Stars were leading the Elk Valley relay teams with $5,663 raised.

The WAC PAC, the Royal Rascals, Elk Valley Hopscotch Mafia and the Credit Union Crusaders rounded out the top five fundraising teams.

The relay event itself was opened by a survivors lap, with a dozen local survivors of cancer — including Sparwood Coun. Brad Bowen — leading the way for the relay.

“By walking the track today you are joining forces with nearly 4 million people worldwide who want to save lives and create a world where no one fears cancer. Take a moment to think of the reason that brings you to relay, don’t feel alone, feel united by walking this track together. We know that a world with less cancer gets closer at every Relay for Life event,” said Master of Ceremonies Tami Chechotko just before the survivors took to the track.

To donate to the Elk Valley Relay for Life, visit www.convio.cancer.ca/site/TR?fr_id=18408&pg=entry