Revised Relay for Life Ingersoll set for June 16
IDCI Grade 12 students Zach Staddon and Brittany Brennan who are among the more than 20 students helping organize the Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life in Ingersoll at the school on Friday, June 16, hold t-shirts promoting the event. JOHN TAPLEY/INGERSOLL TIMES
Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute (IDCI) students have taken up the torch for the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Ingersoll.
After raising $1,369,000 for cancer research and programs over the past 14 years, the event has switched from being organized by the community to a student-led initiative that is open to the community.
Relay will still be going on in the community, said Janis Cunningham, manager of the Oxford, Huron and Perth offices of the Canadian Cancer Society, explaining that more than 100 Relay events across Ontario are run by high school students.
“It'll be true to its original self, but with our own touch,” said Zach Staddon, a Grade 12 student at IDCI who is among the organizers of the event on Friday, June 16, at IDCI.
The Relay will revert to its original 12-hour format, running from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Staddon said going back to an all-night event was gauged more popular among students because “it's more of an experience.”
Participation in Relay isn't limited to students.
“It's open to the public,” said Brittany Brennan, another Grade 12 student who is helping organize the Relay at IDCI. “We will be going out into the community to sign up teams and individuals. We want our whole town to be there to fight cancer together.”
There will also be a rally at the school on April 26 to encourage students to participate and sign up sessions will be held at the school every Friday leading up to the event.
Brennan said participation in Relay for Life in Ingersoll seemed to be in gradual decline and by drawing on the school's resources that have dominated the United Way's annual stair climb fundraiser for the past 13 years the hope is to reinvigorate the event.
Keeping with tradition, this year's Relay will begin with a survivor's lap for people who have successfully conquered cancer and those still battling it.
Themed laps will be be part of the event, Brennan said.
“There's going to be lots of games and entertainment, including karaoke,” she said. “It's on track to be a really good event.”
Brennan and Staddon said there are more than 20 students involved in organizing the event so far and more are welcome – time that counts toward the community service hours required to graduate.
Support from the community is also being welcomed.
“We're open to any help anyone wants to offer,” Brennan said.
Members of a leadership class, Brennan and Staddon said they got involved in organizing Relay, in part, because their final assignment is to run a major event.
While it's their first time being involved with Relay, organizers are drawing on the the experience of Relay veterans. They include IDCI teacher Mary Fitzmorris – who has co-chaired the event for the past several years - and IDCI student Britany Fairbanks – who helped organize the school's fight back Ingersoll (FBI) team.
A luxury tent, equipped with couches and a television, is up for grabs for the team that raises the most money in pledges.
“Start fundraising now,” Brennan said. “The sooner you start the more you're going to raise.”
More information about and contacts for Relay for Life Ingersoll can be found on social media, including Facebook, Snapchat – at idcirfl2017 – and Instagram – idcirelayforlife2017.