Record numbers turned out for the fight against cancer at the ninth annual Langley Relay for Life at McLeod Athletic Park on Friday night.
In total, 94 teams registered, more than 900 stayed overnight, and more than $290,000 was raised for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“Everybody has their reason to Relay,” said Howie Vickberg, chair of the Relay organizing committee.
Since joining the committee nine years ago, Vickberg said he went from having known one cousin many years ago die of Hodgkin’s disease to seeing many friends be diagnosed with cancer. Some have lost their lives, he said. But there are victories, too.
“We have a committee member who has survived pancreatic cancer,” he said.
The highlight of this year was the amount of students involved in the relay.
“Our relay is unique in that we have so much student involvement,” he said. For example, 10 teams registered from Brookswood Secondary. There were three teams registered from Glenwood Elementary, and they were the top fundraising school.
That is mainly because students were inspired by fellow classmate — Grade 5 student Malcolm Shields, who was this year’s top fundraiser for Relay for Life.
The 10-year-old raised $35,000 in honour of his six-year-old brother Jack, who is battling leukemia.
“It’s astounding this 10-year-old boy could raise that kind of money. I met him at the Relay and he is so poised,” Vickberg said.
“Jack is going through treatment but the positive in this cancer fight is the prognosis is good.”
Langley School District staff and school trustees also formed a team this year, in honour of Sandy Wakeling, communications manager, who has had to take a leave of absence to battle cancer.
The Relay went from 7 p.m. on Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, with the goal to have someone from each team walking the track the entire time.
Meanwhile, live music from Other Side of 5 and One Bullett Down played and for the first time they screened an outdoor movie, Back to the Future.