North Island cancer survivors kick of the annual Relay for Life at Port Hardy Secondary School track with the traditional opening lap Saturday evening.

North Island cancer survivors kick of the annual Relay for Life at Port Hardy Secondary School track with the traditional opening lap Saturday evening.

Relay lights up the night

Canadian Cancer Society fundraising event returns to Port Hardy.

PORT HARDY—Dozens of walkers, joggers and rollers representing 11 teams raised nearly $21,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society in the annual North Island Relay for Life at Port Hardy Secondary School track.

The 12-hour relay, which began on a sun-drenched Saturday evening and carried through until 6 a.m. Sunday, featured 19 cancer survivors in distinctive yellow T-shirts for the traditional opening survivors’ lap.

The relay boasted a festival-like atmosphere, with kids games and activities on the infield, music throughout from DJ Jamie Keamo, Highland dancing and fire pits fronting tents and canopies lining the west side of the track.

The inside of the track was ringed with luminaries, candlelit bags weighted with wet sand that honoured cancer victims. Many walkers paused at one or more luminaries to reflect on lost loved ones; others stopped to snap photos.

The top three fundraising teams were the Port Hardy Hospital Group ($4,933), Marine Harvest Small Frys ($3,255.65) and the Eagle View Pajama Whammers ($3,223.01). Ronita Prasad was the top individual fundraiser.

Food was provided to participants throughout the 12-hour relay, beginning with salmon burgers from Marine Harvest and hot dogs donated by the Roach family. Late Saturday night Alfons Bauer of Sporty’s provided soup and chili; early Sunday morning Cafe Guido arrived with fresh-baked scones; and Jeremy and Lata Sandeman of Captain Hardy’s wrapped things up with a breakfast feast.