Langley Relay for Life revamps, merges with Surrey event

Langley Relay for Life revamps, merges with Surrey event

The doubled event takes place Saturday at McLeod Athletic Park

This year’s Relay for Life in Langley is seeing the biggest changes since the annual event was started more than a decade ago.

Some things will remain the same, said organizing co-chairs Lindsay Campbell and Chris Schaufele. Team members will take turns going around the track at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park, cancer survivors will be honoured, and those lost to the disease will be remembered.

But it’s also a year of massive rebuilding for the event, which has seen declining participating in several local Relays over the past few years.

Some of the change seems to have resulted from many cancer-specific fundraisers that have cropped up, organizers say. Relay remains a big-tent event, committed to funding research for all types of cancer and support for patients.

“It’s kind of a home for everyone,” said Campbell, herself a two-time cancer survivor.

In response, the Surrey and Langley Relays have been merged together for the first time.

“It’s been a big change, exciting change,” said Schaufele.

People from Langley and Surrey aren’t the only ones expected to attend, noted Campbell. People from Surrey, Maple Ridge, Langley, Abbotsford, and Coquitlam have already signed up, she said.

Officially dubbed the Fraser Valley Relay for Life, the event still has strong links to Langley – including the fact that two of the three top fundraising teams are longtime Langley groups The Gallery and the Pipesharks.

Both Schaufele and Campbell were organizers of the Surrey event last year, and they’re trying to merge some of the best elements of both Relays.

They are particularly impressed by the venue, which is larger and has more amenities than the track that hosted Surrey’s event.

The space inside and near the track will be filled with activities both new and old.

One of the biggest draws this year will be a Nintendo Switch play area including an inflatable screen, which participants can try out when they take a break from walking.

Both Z95 and JrFM will be on site, there will be jazzercise, zumba, and tae kwon do, a live DJ, a photo booth, inflatable mini-golf, and an activities tent for younger kids with colouring, tug of wars and potato sack races.

“Whether you’re two or 102, you’ll have something to do,” Campbell promised.

The entertainment and events for the Relay participants are a kind of reward – by the time they arrive, the teams have often raised thousands of dollars, and some individuals have raised $5,000 or even $10,000 themselves.

But other events are directly linked to cancer itself, including the survivors walk that starts the Relay. Dozens of cancer survivors in yellow shirts will take the first lap around the track.

There will also be a luminaries ceremony, in which white paper bags illuminated by artificial candles are lit around the track and in the stands, remembering those who lost their lives too soon to cancer.

The event takes place Saturday, from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The goal of this year’s relay is to raise $180,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. As of this week, $112,000 has already been donated.

“Obviously, we’d lot to see a big push for fundraising in the last week as well,” said Schaufele.

People can still donate to a team or create their own and sign up to take part on the Canadian Cancer Society’s website.