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A full court press on the Relay for Life

I have a special role to fulfill on Saturday.

I will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Relay for Life at Lac des Bois. I wonder if they know what they’re getting into, asking me to take on that role.

It’s not like I don’t know what the Relay for Life is all about. It’s an event I’ve covered for years, first with the Free Press and for the past few with CFIS radio. OK, I haven’t really COVERED the event with CFIS, but I have done interviews on After Nine ahead of time, and I usually wandered by the event a couple of times each year.

With the Free Press, though, I sometimes went full-court press on Relay for Life. One year I remember, I was there for the Survivors Lap to start the event at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, got a few more pictures of the start, went and covered a few other events, came back partway through the afternoon to get some more pictures and chat with a couple of people, went home for a couple of hours, came back for the Luminaries Ceremony at 10 p.m. (the halfway point), went home for a few hours, came back about 3 a.m. to get some pictures showing what it was like at that time of the morning, went home, and came back for the final lap at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.

The biggest thing I remember, especially when the event was at Masich Place Stadium, was how alive it felt at 3 a.m. There were fewer people on the track then at other times, understandably, but the energy level was still high. People were walking together and chatting, and 90 per cent of the time it was probably with someone they had never met before but now found they had a common bond (well, besides volunteering to do the 3 a.m. shift for their team).

The other things I noticed the past few years of the Relay for Life was the way the 24-hour relayers were treated by the other relayers. The people going the distance as a one-person team always had a special identifier, usually a scarf, and I always saw other relayers make a point of walking with them for a few minutes, letting them know everyone there was with them.

It’s only a six-hour event this year, as Relay for Life comes back from a COVID-caused hiatus, and you’ll have to put up with an MC who has no idea what he is doing, but drop by Lac des Bois sometime between 4 and 10 p.m. Saturday, and show the people on the track that you care.

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