Canadian Cancer Society?s Relay for Life

Hello  ‘Warrior Cancer Survivor’,

It is once again time to get ready for the Canadian Cancer Society’s  Relay for Life 2017.  This year, Toronto’s Relay is set to happen on Friday June 16th, at Downsviw Park, and will run from 6 pm until 12 am. We are looking for anyone who has every heard the words “you have cancer”, and survived to participate in Relay 2017 because, as  ‘cancer warrior survivors’, you represent the mission of the charity, and as such, you are our esteemed guests of honour..

Relay for Life is community based, non-competitive, team fundraiser, where participants take turns walking around a track or designated path, passing a baton. The event is comprised of teams to illustrate that no one battles cancer alone. The event is 6 hours in length, and each team is asked to have at least one member on the track, at all times, to signify that cancer never sleeps.

The goal of  Relay For Life is to raise funds and awareness. 90% of the dollars raised through Relay is put back into maintaining the Canadian Cancer Society’s 7 unique and necessary community support programs, that improve the quality of life for cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers, and also towards funding cancer research projects that work to improve cancer survival rates, and decrease the incidence of cancer. 

The esteemed guests of honour at Relay are always the ‘warrior cancer survivors’ who attend, along with their families, friends, and caregivers. There are many traditions of Relay that are used to honour and celebrate ‘warrior cancer survivors’, current ‘warrior cancer patients’, and those warriors who have lost their valiant battle to their cancer.

First to mention is the emotional ‘Survivor’s Lap of Honour’ ~ Relay always begins with the very first lap of the event being walked only by ‘warrior cancer survivors’.  This impactful lap definitely sets the tone for the entire event.

The next Relay tradition is the poignant Luminaries Ceremony. Luminaria, are fire-resistant paper sacks filled with sand to support a lighted candle, and are beautifully decorated with the names of cancer victims and survivors. The Luminaria Ceremony, often referred to as the Ceremony of Hope.

At sunset, all of the lights at the track are turned off, allowing only lights from the hundreds of luminaries that line the track to guide participants as they walk  ~ this lap is be led by a gentleman who will be playing bagpipes, and is walked in silence. This part of the evening is a time to remember people we have lost to cancer, to support people who currently have cancer, and to honour those who have fought cancer in the past. The power of this ceremony lies in providing an opportunity for people to work through grief and find hope.

The last way that Relay celebrates ‘warrior cancer survivors’ is through a variety of survivorship activities. These include : early team registration on event day; hosting a reception; giving a special recognition memento to survivors (usually a sash, pin, or special shirt); and the encouragement of any warrior survivor to inspire us with their words throughout the day.

If you wish to participate in Toronto’s Relay for Life 2017, you can do so using this link .  Alternatively, you can call,  Jennifer Masters, Volunteer, ‘Survivors Engagemnt’ Team Lead, at 647-500-9793 or at

I hope you will honour us with your presence, and I look forward to speaking with you, and of course, meeting you at Relay for Life 2017.



Jennifer Masters

“I don’t like the term ‘survivor.’  I prefer ‘conqueror.’ ~ Judi, Breast Cancer Survivor