Relay for Life doubles in one year
Just in its second year, the Relay for Life event has flourished: 3,700 participants turned out — almost double the inugural count — and raised $451,495 for cancer prevention and detection.
Cheers broke across North Field this evening as the teams closed 24 straight hours of walking around the track.
According to Ron Spencer, the founder of Bermuda’s version of the global event, more than 160 teams pitched in — ranging in size from ten to 15 members, to corporate teams of 80 and more.
“I think by next year we’ll have ten per cent of the Island’s population showing up,” said an elated Mr Spencer, calling himself dazed but happy after staying up all night. “It’s going to be an annual event following the May 24 holiday. Everyone in Bermuda has been affected in some way by cancer.”
A carnival atmosphere reigned at the National Sports Centre, and Mr Spencer has high hopes for the Relay for Life growing into a full-blown entertainment event to accompany the walkers taking circuits of the track.
Ninety-five per cent of the funds raised go to the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre’s work against cancer. Most recently, the charity was able to establish radiation treatment on the Island.
“The Relay for Life was a major fund raising vehicle for making this happen,” said Tara Soares, executive director of the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre. “Last year we raised just over $300,000. This year is absolutely phenomenal.”
The relays have gone from 6.30pm on Friday night until the same time on Saturday, and participants marked the close of the event by switching directions for a last circle of North Field.
“How cool is this? Probably double last year — that gives us a challenge for next year,” said Mitch Blaser, CEO of Ironshore, the presenting sponsor of the event.
“It’s been a tough a 24 hours for some people, but there’s always hope when people rally together,” said Premier Michael Dunkley, who attended the closing with his wife Pamela.
Article by Jonathan Bell, Royal Gazette