(Contributed by Devyn Barrie and Lesley McKay)
Caitlin Bauer had been integral to Sacred Heart’s Relay for Life cancer fundraiser for so long, it’s no surprise she’s running it now at Algonquin College too.
The Stittsville resident, now in her sixth year of involvement with Relay for Life, is looking to make this year’s fundraiser her biggest yet — and the biggest for any college in Canada. Her committee of nine other students has set a target of $20,000 raised by March 22, and so far has raised $9,000.
“The money that we raise, it goes towards research and prevention, early diagnosing,” said Bauer. “It can mean the difference between life and death for some people.”
She first got involved with Relay for Life at Sacred Heart, where it didn’t take long for her to become passionate about the cause. It’s a community event where participants walk or run together, in relay-race fashion. It’s not a competition — everybody works towards the goal of fighting cancer.
Bauer said it’s a personal cause to her. Both her grandparents have fought, and won, cancer. This pushed Caitlin further to take the lead on Sacred Heart’s 3rd Relay during grade 12, raising over $15,000. She is very excited to join the post secondary relay family and take a further big step to help get rid of this disease. In her years of organizing the event, she’s also met many other cancer survivors.
“I’ve met so many different people from this cause, that has really inspired me to do this,” she said. “The stories of what people have faced … it’s really moving.”
(Co-chairs of the Algonquin College Relay for Life – Kelsey Munro and Caitlin Bauer. Photo: Camilla Sola)
For a volunteer, it’s a busy job. While planning usually starts in the fall, she said things have really picked up lately. These days, she’s talking to her co-chair on a near-daily basis. With Algonquin’s relay around the corner, they’ve signed up 100 students and are still filling space on 16 teams (anyone, even non-students, can join up.)
“Their college is often referred to as ‘The Little College that Could’, which makes sense because Algonquin is one of a few colleges in Eastern Canada she’s aware of that is able to keep up financially with universities when participating in Relay for Life” Bauer said.
“You’ve got Carleton who’ve been running it for 10 years and they just hit a million bucks (cumulatively over a decade) two weeks ago,” she said.
You can help them hit their goal by donating here. The event is being held in Algonquin College’s ACCE building (near the transit station) starting at 7:00 pm on Friday, March 22nd.
Caitlin has also been involved in SchoolBox (including a trip to Nicaragua in 2016), SleepOut for Youth, RCMP Youth Committee of Canada, recipient of Stittsville Youth Appreciation Award 2017, and recipient of the Stittsville Village Association Scholarship. In her world of volunteering, Relay for Life has always been her main focus.