The Super Karate Monkeys will celebrate our 13th year at Relay For Life in 2013. With that being said, the Monkeys were not always Monkeys. In fact, early on, we were called, “We Were Forced to Be Here.” It was a little joke because when I was the original Team Captain I was known to be a little “persuasive” when it came time to recruiting team members.  

Over the years, our group of 12 has seen a fair turnover of teammates. Some of the original members have since left us. I’m not sure if it was due to my insistence that we follow a strict schedule – “Everyone will walk in 15 minute shifts. If you’d like to walk in pairs, I’m flexible, just as long as you don’t miss your scheduled shift!”

Seriously though, sometimes life gets in the way. People have job demands or they start families. It can be challenging to commit to such a big event even though the cause is so important. Nevertheless, our former teammates continue to support us in various ways, either through donations, participating in our fundraising events or just by showing up on event day to say ‘hello.’ No contribution is too small.

Our core group of six has been together for four years now. I think once you get through your third year there’s no turning back. How have we survived this long? We all have a personal connection to cancer and our own stories to share. It is our mission to fight back. Also, as an active Relay volunteer and a working mother of 3 little ones, I realized I couldn’t lead the team on my own. My friend, Dave, was just as passionate about the event. So, I asked him to share the responsibilities of Team Captain. Succession planning even amongst a small team is important. Each teammate brings a special strength to the group.

We keep things simple. We organize cost efficient and easy to implement fundraisers. We also focus on the fact that for 12 SHORT hours, we are making a difference for the lives of so many. This includes our very own survivor and teammate, Chris. Seeing her walk around the track year after year is enough motivation to keep us coming back.

As a relatively small team we’re always on the lookout for new members who fit the SKM profile:

  • Willing to raise money
  • Eager to fight back against cancer
  • Strong fondness for bananas
  • Good sense of humour

We welcome new participants, whether it’s for a year or two or more. But, they may not learn our secret handshake until the third year!