Over $50,000 raised at the Sacred Heart High School 2024 Relay for Life

(Guests, students and teachers gathered for the 2024 Relay for Life organized by the students at Sacred Heart High School held on May 24, 2024 that took place at Stittsville’s OZ Dome. Photos: Sacred Heart High School)

This past Friday, May 24, Sacred Heart hosted their Relay for Life Day. Relay for Life is an organization that sets up event day for members of the community whether that be schools or local groups to do a walk or run in support of the battle against cancer. The day is meant to honor survivors and those who are currently in the fight against this horrible disease. Sacred Heart High School’s event took place at the OZ dome where more than 200 students participated.

The day kicked off with the opening ceremonies. This saw the two MCs of the event,  Rosa Luliano and Avery Laprade come out and introduce the day. This was then followed by a land acknowledgement from Marina Westbrook, a professor of indigenous studies at Algonquin college. The opening ceremonies also included a prayer from the school’s chaplain and a welcome from the principal. Councillor David Brown also made an appearance to say some words about the event. The ceremony ended with three moving speeches from survivors Heather Ward, Tanya Fowler, and Rawan El-Komos.

Once the opening ceremony concluded the first lap started which was led by survivors. A cake was then passed around and the day officially kicked off. The rest of the afternoon included many games organized by groups of students such as inflatable jousting, tug of war, limbo, and much more. There were also two more speeches given by survivors Jakob Bouse and Liz Ellwood. There, of course, was also a lot of walking and running.

At the end of the night, the event hosts an open mic where students are welcome to come up and share stories on how cancer has affected their lives. This was a very emotional part of the day but proved to be very healing for a lot of people. During the closing ceremonies, there are awards given out in categories such as the most spirited, most laps walked, most fundraised, individual leadership (3), and individual initiative (2).

The event was a success finishing off with a total of over $50,000 raised. The three biggest fundraisers for the event were Shael Murphy with $1,520 raised, Cadence Thomas with $1,552 raised, and Eva Vukovic who raised the most money at a whopping $2,205. The event was a great success and a great day of support for those who have been affected by cancer.

We talked to the event organizer and Sacred Heart student Avery Laprade about why the event means so much to her. “Many people ask me why I Relay and why I put in the work I do which I always tell them I am just trying to make my people proud. From family members I’ve lost due to cancer and seeing my friends go through having parents with cancer I can’t imagine seeing a world continuing with such a disease. You never know what someone else is going through and Relay brings us together. I Relay to make my Papa proud” 

We also talked to participant Chloe Rowsell, she said “This was my first time going to relay and I’m glad I decided to participate as I had the opportunity to support a great cause and listen to other people’s stories about how cancer has affected their lives. Everyone who attended worked really hard throughout the year to surpass our goal. I will definitely be attending next year.”

A big thank you to Avery Laprade for helping out with this article. If you want to learn more about Relay for Life go to the Canadian Cancer Society website.


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