EDITORIAL: Loss of Relay for Life a blow to Port Alberni

News that the Relay for Life event in Port Alberni has been cancelled just five weeks before the event was to take place came as a surprise.

News that the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event in Port Alberni has been cancelled just five weeks before the event was to take place came as a sad surprise on Friday.

The 12-hour, overnight Relay for Life began in Port Alberni in the mid-2000s, and the early events drew upwards of 40 teams. This year, despite some initial challenges finding volunteers for the organizing committee, a dozen teams were entered and had already raised a recorded $5,000. That money is used for cancer research.

Five thousand dollars, while not the same sum that teams have raised in the past, is not chump change. Teams had committed to fundraisers over the next few weeks leading up to the relay, which was supposed to happen overnight June 22-23 at Bob Dailey Stadium.

Some of our readers are asking why the event was even cancelled, saying no contribution is too small when it comes to kicking cancer to the curb. We echo the view of one reader, who wrote that a low turnout should never shut down an event that impacts so many lives.

Local coordinator Melissa Bigmore was committed to seeing the event through, but said the BC Yukon Division of the Canadian Cancer Society made the decision to cancel. We only hope they had  a better reason than lack of fundraising.

In the meantime, we applaud the Paramount Theatre team for their moment of genius, a 12-hour ‘Reel-ay for Life’ movie event starting at 9 p.m. on June 22. Other businesses, like Serious Coffee, have already jumped on board — proving once again that Port Alberni really is a community with heart.