‘Relay for Life’ activities lineup coming together

Sarah Pruys

For Madisyn DeGagne, participating in the local “Relay for Life” is a tradition in which she becomes more involved every year.
This year, besides being a team captain, DeGagne is chair of activities for the organizing committee. So along with holding team meetings, fundraising, and attending committee meetings, the Grade 9 student has been busy filling the night’s schedule with a multitude of activities to keep people awake and involved.
Some are new this year while others are old favourites.
“Yes, there are ones that have been done before but I [also] kept ones from previous years that weren’t used last year,” noted the 14-year-old, who is a cancer survivor herself.
“Just things that would add energy to the people throughout the night,” she reasoned.
Previous events include “Relay Idol,” a scavenger hunt, and the frozen T-shirt contest. “Zumba,” put on by Energy Fitness, is new this year.
The activities are “just things to keep people awake,” said DeGagne.
“I tried to space them out evenly so that they are all throughout the night, once an hour,” she explained.
The activities usually are quite well-attended, and she hopes “there is a lot of participation.”
“Relay Idol” will kick off the fun activities starting at 7:30 p.m. on June 15, followed by head-shaving at 9 p.m., then wheel barrel and three-legged races at 11 p.m.
Midnight will see “Zumba” take place, then at 1 a.m. will be an open mic.
The newspaper/duct tape fashion show will follow at 2 a.m., with the scavenger hunt and frozen T-shirt contests slated for 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., respectively.
DeGagne decided to join the organizing committee after being asked to last year after she had put a team in.
“I thought it was a really good way to get involved more with ‘Relay,’ and I just wanted to help out,” she remarked.
She admitted the experience has been “really stressful,” but added “it’s a good challenge and I look forward to it every year.”
“It’s something I want to do, so that’s what makes it all worthwhile is seeing the outcome,” she said.
This is the third year that DeGagne is heading her own team, but she’s been part of a team for six years.
“I started relaying when my auntie put a team in in honour of me after I was diagnosed with cancer,” she recalled.
“I was diagnosed in January, and then we did ‘Relay’ the June following it.
“Cancer does run in my family,” she noted. “My great-grandmother had it and my great-aunt had it.”
In part, DeGagne does the “Relay” for them, but also because it’s a great cause and she has a lot of fun doing it.
“I like the atmosphere of it,” she enthused. “I love how inspiring it can be and how everyone just comes together . . . it’s a great experience for everyone.
“It’s a great feeling to be involved with it.”
Her team for the past few years has been made up of people her own age.
“It’s me and my friends, some of my cousins, teammates, anyone who really wants to join,” she said.
“I like getting people my age involved because we are the next generation of ‘Relayers,’” she reasoned.
“So I just thought I might as well get them involved now ’cause in 10 years we’re going to be the ones primarily doing this.”
One of their favourite parts of the night is participating in the activities, which is fitting considering her committee position.
“We love doing the activities together ’cause we have a really good time,” DeGagne said. “Especially things like the frozen T-shirt contest and the newspaper fashion show.”
And she encouraged more people to get involved. “I think it’s just something everyone should experience at least once in their life,” she remarked.
“To get involved would be something good for them to do because it’s a great thing to be a part of.
“Everyone’s affected by cancer so you can relate to it really easy,” she added.
As for next year, DeGagne definitely would like to remain on the committee.
“I would like to try something new but I really like this position,” she said. “If it were to be given to me again, I would really enjoy it and see if I could improve from this year’s events.”
She hopes new activities will continue to be incorporated into the “Relay,” adding that “some people offered to do yoga and I was thinking maybe next year putting it in there somewhere.”
“It’s great that people from the community are trying to get involved in ways like that, even by leading on activities,” DeGagne said.