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Relay For Life 2007

When I signed up for yesterday's Relay For Life, I knew it was an overnight non-competitive relay whose goal was to raise money for cancer research and community-based support services for those affected by cancer.

What came as a bonus: free massages, great music and dance entertainment, roasting marshmallows over a bonfire, Toronto Argonaut cheerleaders, stargazing through a telescope, bonfire, salsa lessons, my first exposure to karaoke (I know, I KNOW! I've led a sheltered life, what can I say), lots of food, singalongs, making some new friends, and soul comfort.

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Most of all, though, I found it inspiring. We all tend to get a tad complacent in our lives sometimes, stressing and bitching about things that ultimately aren't all that important in the grand scheme of things. An event like Relay For Life helps put things in perspective.

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The Survivors' Victory Lap, for example, is for those who are currently being treated for cancer or in long-time recovery. From the wide age range of survivors, it's clear that cancer doesn't discriminate between the young and elderly.

It was fun to see many of the teams adopt themes and use costumes as well as campsite decorations, like the dragon below:

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Campsites ranged from sleeping bags out in the open to army tents. The army guys won the Spirit Award; not surprising considering they RAN most of the relay (12 hours, remember!) and most carried large backpacks while they ran; I felt like a slacker in comparison.

Lots of activities for Relay participants and those cheering them on, including the MAD Science Booth, face painting, tae kwon do, a salsa ruedo performance, lessons in merenge, salsa and latin line-dancing, astronomy observation, a short film festival and karaoke. The karaoke seemed kind of scary to me sometimes (as a listener) but hey, everyone was having fun.

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The event even had free massages, courtesy of the Massage Therapy Program at the CDI College Toronto Central Campus. Swoon. And those masseurs/masseuses had the stamina to knead all night AND be cheery in the morning, too!

In fact, I was hugely impressed by the enthusiasm of everyone involved in the event, especially in the wee hours of the morning. Hundreds of volunteers helped out, from registration to food to luminaries and other areas. Kudos to all those responsible.

And thanks to my own Team, Team Hope, those who sponsored me, and friends who came by to show their support!

You can see more pics in my Flickr set or see a selection in this slideshow:


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