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Relay for Life raises $200,000

Kevin Allerston
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Nearly 400 people packed onto the William McDonald School track and field oval Friday to support those who are battling or have conquered cancer.

NNSL photo/graphic

Nancy MacNeil of the No Pants Army goofs around with Jacqueline McKinnon, left, of the Corvan Cancer Killers at the Relay for Life held at the William McDonald track and field oval Friday night. - photo courtesy of Rich McIntosh

The Relay for Life, now in its ninth year in Yellowknife, is a 12-hour event featuring music that raises money to support cancer research and people affected by the disease. Organizers said they were thrilled with how Yellowknifers opened their hearts and their wallets.

"It was fantastic! It was a lot of fun and great to see so many people, so many Yellowknifers, so many people who came out to see friends and family and support the event. It was great!" said Bianca Jorgenson of the Canadian Cancer Society.

So far, with approximately $200,000 raised, this year's total is slightly short of what was raised last year, $215,000, but organizers said they are confident they will eventually surpass it.

"The money really does just keep coming in and I have a good feeling that by the end of the month we will beat last year's goal for sure," said Jorgenson.

While not part of the official tally, she estimates the society has received about $5,000 since Friday.

"We really couldn't ask for anything more," she said.

The BHP Billiton team, whose donations have been matched by the company, is in the lead with $32,000 raised, while the No Pants Army is in second place with just under $12,000.

"I would definitely love to give a huge thanks to all our volunteers, survivors, our caregivers, our teams for the huge amount of fundraising they did for us - and the community of Yellowknife," said Jorgenson.

This was the first time at the relay for Amanda Dei, who was recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She said she was impressed that her team, the No Pants Army, was able to come in second against BHP's team.

"It feels pretty amazing," she said. "Half of theirs was a corporate match. I mean, our final number was $11,905, so yeah, we were pretty close. Not that it's a competition, but just to look at what my team accomplished in such a short amount of time, it's kind of mind-blowing."

Dei said she was thankful for the support from Yellowknifers, but by no means surprised.

"I want to say I'm surprised, but I've lived in Yellowknife for so long that the things this town can accomplish doesn't surprise me anymore. It's a pretty special place and I am always going to be thankful for the support that was shown to the relay and to myself personally," she said. "Yellowknife is an amazing place and we pulled it off again."

Though the relay calls for participants to stay up all night, she said the energy she got from her team, the supporters and the other participants made it easy.

"It was a blast. I had so much fun. My team was amazing, so just hanging out with them for 12 hours was a lot of fun. I met a lot of people and it was easy to stay up all night when you have that much fun and that much support around you."

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