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R elay for Life fundraisers surpass 1 5 0 0 0 0 goal Tuesday June 16 2015 9 HEALTH WELLNESS CANCER 6.8103 in x 6.3125 in B y D AL I CAR M I CH AE L As they prepared for an overnight march around Q ueen Elizabeth P ark participants in this years Fort Smith Relay for Life were ecstatic to learn they had not only met their 1 5 0 0 0 fundraising goal but had passed it by several thousand dollars. Months of collecting pledges holding barbecues and bake sales and selling tem- porary tattoos paid off as the volunteers realized they had collected 1 5 3 48 4 with even more funds set to roll in from last- minute donations. Its that common purpose right Its very few people that can say they havent been touched by cancer said event coordinator Shari O lsen. We all want it to go away. This years top-raising team was the But- terflies who collected a total of 1 7 0 9 8 .3 0 . Two of their teammates Tim Bye and Ann Lepine were recognized as the top indi- vidual fundraisers for 20 1 5 after collecting 5 5 0 0 and 5 40 0 respectively. Sandy P oitras on the Irenes Brats team also stood out as a top fundraiser after col- lecting 43 5 1 selling her delicious home- made fry bread. The achievement was celebrated as 1 49 participants - divvied up into 1 5 teams - walked from 7 p.m. Saturday until 7 a.m. Sunday in an effort to display their sup- port for those touched by cancer. We had a great turnout of survivors some even stayed the night here and were there in the morning O lsen said. We had also had our survivor reception on Friday and it was really nice just to get together so the survivors know what its all about. As is tradition at every Relay for Life a luminary ceremony was held at midnight as a moment to honour both cancer survi- vors and victims. About 1 0 1 4 paper bags scrawled with messages of love hope and loss were dedicated to individuals afflicted by cancer and lined the track for the re- mainder of the evening. Everything went smoothly and every- body had a good time O lsen said. This is the fastest night ever I remember for Relay. I dont think I sat down for very long ever there was just always something happening. Volunteer Andrea Steed helped the group stay awake with hourly activities includ- ing themed laps where walkers wore su- perhero costumes or toilet-paper dresses and minute to win-it challenges. Gerald P oitras also helped by spinning tunes as the official Relay DJ. The weather was great the bugs were almost non-ex istent O lsen said reflect- ing on the night. It was just really great. O lsen also said she was proud of her communitys results. She compared them to Grande P rairie Alta. a town with a population about 20 times bigger than Fort Smith who happened to hold their Relay on the same day. With just over 5 0 registered teams the southern city raised 621 7 5 as of June 1 3 a fraction of Fort Smiths total. All of the collected money will be do- nated to the Canadian Cancer Society a national charity dedicated to funding can- cer research advocacy groups and sup- port services for cancer patients and their families. The committee will be collecting funds until the end of July O lsen said. F ort S mith kicks off the communitys 2015 R elay for L ife with a cancer surv iv ors lap. The ev ent was held at Q ueen E liz ab eth Campground June 13 . PhotoDonJaque