Archives for category: #whyirelay

By The Blue Butterflies

Being part of Relay allows me to experience dynamic people in my community who devote themselves to supporting cancer research. Each week, we learn that cancer has affected a relative, a friend or a child. My contribution may feel small but it makes me even more sensitive to the ravages of the disease when it strikes a family. This research will help find effective treatments and put a stop to this terrible disease. I am part of the Blue Butterflies team because I lost a brother who had a brain tumor and because I have a friend who has a 5 year old son who has been fighting against cancer for more than a year now. I have a wonderful family and grandchildren that I love and life is so fragile.

–          Jeanne


I have been part of the Blue Butterflies team from the very beginning. Cancer affects so many people. We need to combat this terrible disease and I thought if I got involved in Relay For Life, at least I could give my time to the cause. I love to see people gathering at Relay. It touches me so much to see all the people who attend and who fight hard against this terrible disease. Giving my time is nothing compared to the suffering of those fighting cancer everyday. It makes me feel good to do my small part to help support cancer research.

–          Edith


In 2011, I received the difficult news that my dad, at the age of only 54 years, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Only one month later, he had surgery. My dad was someone who worked hard and never took enough time for himself. During the 8 weeks after his operation, he had plenty of time to think and realize how short life can be and how important it is to enjoy it.

In 2013, cancer touched our family again – this time it was my mom who was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Again, the treatment was quick- only one month after diagnosis, she had her operation. After being moral support to my dad during his cancer experience, now she needed support.

Today, I can say that in our even with these challenges, my family is doing well. We are confident that both my parents will remain cancer-free. A few years ago, when I got the invitation to join the Blue Butterflies team, I accepted without hesitation.  I hope with all my heart that the work all the Relay teams will mean that one day we will not have to fear this disease!

–          Stephanie


by Jacinthe Guitard

The first time I heard about cancer, I was 9 years old. My mother had just learned that she had breast cancer. It was in 1971 and at that time, cancer research and treatments were not very advanced. Four years later, her cancer had generalized and I lost my mother. She was 59 and I was 13. For a young girl, it was a harsh reality. Because of this terrible disease, all my life events – my graduation, my wedding, and the birth of my children – were marked by a huge void.Jacinthe

In 1997, my brother was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a cancer that typically affects children. My brother was one of the rare adults to be diagnosed with this type of cancer. He endured 14 months of chemotherapy and 35 radiation treatments. After 18 months of treatment, he was finally cured. He had 16 beautiful cancer-free years, but then, two years ago, he learned that he had an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma as well as leukemia. He just completed 8 months of chemotherapy and is now in remission.

During the years when my brother was healthy, cancer came back to touch our family too many times. My sister had a cancer of the meninges (the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord) and had no chance at all. She died only a few months after the diagnosis. My two other sisters also had breast cancer. Fortunately, because of advancements in research and treatments, they are now proud cancer survivors.

So, if you ask me why I Relay, the answer is simple. I Relay to help fund research that will ensure that my family and others do not lose the people we love too early. Research can change the world and I know it. I have lost loved ones but some are also still with me and that is fantastic!

I also raise funds and walk the track at Relay For Life so that one day, no other 13 year old girl will have to face growing up and living through her life’s most important moments without her mother by her side.

By Johanne Roy, The Blue Butterflies Team Captain

A few years ago, my father was diagnosed with bladder cancer. It was from that moment that I realized the importance of participating in Relay For Life. I always knew that cancer was a terrible disease and that it affects many people, but before being directly touched by this awful disease, I had never thought about getting involved in fundraising events. I was very proud when I heard that people in my community had raised money for the cause, but I was never conscious of what I could do to contribute. In fact, it was much easier to tell myself, from the comfort of my home, that the people who participated in fundraising events were doing hard work and that they were very brave. When I think about it, I regret that I did not realize the importance of giving my time to fight cancer until someone close to me was touched by it.

This message certainly does not mean that I blame those people who stay in their routine and believe they don’t have the time or the talent to make a difference, because I was in their shoes not so long ago. On the contrary, this message is simply to tell everyone that it is easy and gratifying to get involved. You can go gradually like I did. Here is my story.

When my father told me about his experience as a survivor at his first Relay For Life, I had tears in my eyes. I was surprised to hear that he felt like a real Hollywood star when he walked around the track proudly wearing his yellow t-shirt. From that moment, I told myself that I absolutely had to participate in the event. So I registered in a team and had my first experience as a member of the Blue Butterflies team the next year. That night changed my perception of the disease. From that moment, I knew that I had to fight until it did not exist anymore. I don’t know if it was fate that was giving me a sign or if it was only a coincidence, but I learned that the team captain could not assume her role anymore. So I followed my instincts and decided to take charge of the Blue Butterflies team. Thanks to the recruitment of an exceptional team that always gets deeply involved, we have managed, in the last four years, to organize fundraising activities that are very successful. Whether it is a hockey pool, a bottle drive, the organization of a fashion show or a curling tournament, my team knows how to step up. It is indeed because of my team’s determination that we have had so much success.

Since I took over the role of team captain, many people around me have been touched by cancer. In fact, this terrible disease took my little nephew’s life. He was only four years old. I told myself that with research, experts will eventually find a cure and that one day another child like him will see his fifth birthday. That is why I encourage you to get involved. You will quickly realize that any action to fight cancer is rewarding. I sincerely believe that with the incredible effort of all the volunteers, one day, we will eradicate cancer.

Cancer is difficult to understand and coping with a diagnosis is stressful. A donation of $35 will empower one cancer patient with the information they needto better understand their diagnosis and make informed decisions about their health.

Families devastated by a child’s cancer diagnosis face overwhelming emotional, financial, and practical challenges. A donation of $35 enables one family to travel to their child’s life-saving cancer treatment appointment, helping to ease both the financial and emotional burdens of a sick child.

One in five cancer patients cannot get to treatment. A donation of $50 will provide transportation for one cancer patient to a life-saving treatment appointment, so that they can focus on getting well, not on how they will get to treatment.

A cancer diagnosis is frightening and can be very isolating. A donation of $125 will connect one patient with a cancer survivor who has “been there,” providing compassion and emotional support from diagnosis through recovery.

Cancer research is expensive and requires highly specialized equipment. A donation of $300 covers the cost of the cancer cells needed for one research project.

Education and knowledge sharing are key components of cancer research. A Relay team that raises $2,000 will enable a young researcher to attend an important conference, present results of their work and make connections with other researchers in their field.

Clinical trials are the final phase in the testing of new cancer treatments. A Relay team that raises $10,000 will give one cancer patient access to the newest types of cancer treatment through participation in a potentially life-saving clinical trial.

A successful research program relies on high-quality scientists and support staff. A Relay team that raises $20,000 pays for one Master’s student to work and study in a Cancer Society Society-funded lab for one year.

Cancer is a complex disease and battling it requires innovation, creativity, and risk-taking. A Relay For Life event that raises $100,000 will fund one year of an Innovation Grant, enabling the Society to investigate unconventional concepts to combat cancer.

#WhyIRelay is a social media calling card for all things Relay. We encourage you to use the hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to keep friends and followers up to date on your Relay journey.

What is a hashtag?

The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords or topics in your social media messages. It was created as a way to categorize messages. For Relay, it helps connect participants from across the country, and even the world, to grow and share our common goals and experiences.

When should I use the hashtag?

Anytime you mention your participation in Relay For Life, you should add #WhyIRelay! Add it when you’re:

  •          Asking for a donation
  •          Sharing your personal cancer story
  •          Thanking someone for a pledge
  •          Pinning a great team fundraising idea
  •          Posting photos from your event

Using the #WhyIRelay hashtag helps build a virtual community of cancer fighters, while reminding those in your social media circles why you choose to fight back through Relay For Life.

Three of the members of our Ambassador Team, the Blue Butterflies, share their personal “Why I Relay” stories.

“Why I Relay”
By Vickie

We believe in the miracle of The Blue Butterflies! 


My husband and I have been part of Relay For Life for seven years.  He is a cancer survivor.  Although many years ago, I lost my grandfather to cancer, for a long time I never thought of the disease. Then, all of a sudden, that changed.  In a period of about seven years, I lost my 5-year-old great grandson (my granddaughter’s only child) as well as two sisters-in-law, a brother-in-law and my best friend all to this dreadful disease.

Nobody is safe.  It affects people of all ages and of all walks of life.

Our thoughts are with those now fighting cancer.  My message to them is: you may not think so but there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Please do not give up hope.

All of us must do everything we can to help eradicate this terrible disease. That is why we participate in Relay For Life and encourage others to get involved.  Let’s all work together and get rid of cancer.

“Why I Relay”
By Marie

In 2013, our lives changed dramatically when we learned that our son-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. He is still battling the disease. Physically and emotionally, it is so difficult for parents to see those you love suffer and to be helpless to this terrible disease. We can give them support, but we cannot cure the disease.

When I was asked to be part of The Blue Butterflies team, I enthusiastically said YES. For us, it is another way to show our support. By getting involved and raising funds for research, we are supporting all those who are suffering from this terrible disease.

“Why I Relay”
By Dianne

My family has experienced the loss of two very dear to the people because of cancer.  My father died of brain cancer 26 years ago. At that time, there was not a lot of treatment to overcome cancer. Then, a few years ago, I also lost my brother to the same cancer. With treatment, his life was prolonged by two years. That same year, I joined The Blue Butterflies team. I realized the importance of getting involved and helping to raise funds to help combat this terrible disease. I see a lot progress thanks to research and more people are surviving this disease. My involvement brings me great personal satisfaction and pride to make my small contribution.

Congratulations on registering as a Team Captain for Relay For Life!

Teams are the heart of Relay, and every team brings its own special energy to the event.  As a Team Captain, it’s your role to get friends and family to join your team, set fundraising goals and motivate your team members to reach fundraising success!

Here are some ways to get started:

Recruit teammates

Start by sharing the reason you are motivated to fight back against cancer, and invite family, friends and co-workers to join your team.

Hold team meetings

Once you’ve compiled a team of cancer fighters (the average team is about 10 people), plan team meetings to:

  • Choose a team name and theme
  • Consider dedicating your team in honour or in memory of a loved one
  • Tell your Relay story and encourage your team members to do the same
  • Set team and individual fundraising goals and discuss ways you’ll reach them
  • Brainstorm potential team fundraising activities
  • Delegate tasks to your team members for event night, like collecting last minute funds, organizing tent décor and packing sleeping gear

Set fundraising goals

Each Relay participant is responsible for raising at least $100, although the average participant raises more than double that!  In addition to individual fundraising, participants typically work with their team to hold fundraising activities. If you and your team members add up your individual goals, plus the goal you’ve set for team fundraising, you will have your overall team goal. Goals give your team something to strive for and together, you can monitor progress and celebrate successes.

Coach and motivate

Motivation that hits close to home is always the most effective. Let your team know that their fundraising efforts will help fund the best cancer research in Canada and provide much-needed services for cancer patients in your community to motivate them to raise even more money!

A successful Team Captain is also an effective coach – someone who can provide the tools and knowledge to help their team members reach their goals. Outline easy ways your team can reach and exceed their $100 minimum goals, like asking ten friends for $10, or completing a Scratch & Give card.  More resources like the Team Captain and Participant handbooks, Fundraising Coaching Plan and Guide to Fundraising are available in your Online Participant Centre!

Plan team fundraisers

Team fundraising encourages team members to work together and builds camaraderie. Hold a garage sale, plan a silent auction or host a community dog wash. With endless event possibilities, the key is to be creative, organized and to have fun!

Attend Team Captain meetings

Find out all you need to know to submit offline funds and prepare for event day by attending Team Captain meetings or rallies held in your community. It’s a great way to get ideas, ask questions and meet fellow Relayers!

Enjoy the night

At Relay, gather your team to attend all of the key ceremonies and enjoy the activities and entertainment throughout the night. Don’t forget to organize your team for a team photo, and finally, thank your team members for all their hard work.  Remember to give yourself a pat on the back too for leading your team to success.