Hundreds of people will join Linda Thomas in the fight against cancer at Relay for Life this Friday night at the Phoenix track. This year’s event promises to be more geared towards families

Relay for Life to be a celebration for the whole community

This year’s Relay for Life event, which will be geared towards families, promises to be better than last year

This year’s Relay for Life event, which will be geared towards families, promises to be better than last year, says organizer Linda Thomas.

And along with tear-jerker moments when cancer survivors take to the track, there will be gut-busting laughter.

As the night continues on, there will be a limbo lap where participants will have to navigate the track while shimmying as low as they can go, and a poker lap. Participants will receive a card at the end of a lap five different times and at the end, the best hand wins.

There will also be a newspaper fashion show and teams will have to dress their “model” in newspaper in an allotted amount of time using only papers and tape, no scissors.

“At 4 a.m. you start to get ridiculously silly and everything becomes funny so we thought we’d try this and get everybody to have some fun,” says Thomas.

If that doesn’t get people laughing, some singing by the relay teams is sure to incite some giggles as each team of participants will be tasked with writing and then performing their own song around midnight, says Thomas.

Also new this year will be a sunrise yoga session to shake off the morning blahs.

And in an effort to make the event more family-friendly, Thomas says this year’s local Relay for Life committee, which includes six volunteers, decided to bring in a full kids tent where there will be face painting, clowns and a craft area. There will also be two movies shown during the night, one a classic and one a teen movie.

“We talked about how we can change the relay this year and the committee has worked so hard to make sure the event is better than last year,” says Thomas. “We changed the entertainment to allow for families to get involved.”

Musical performances will come from two different youth bands, the Impalas, the Campbell River Children’s Choir, the Campbell River Pipe Band, a classical guitarist and more.

“We’ve thought of everything and there’s something for everyone,” says Thomas. “We’re not gearing it towards one generation and we’ve looked at how to keep people busy throughout the night and thought of fun things to get everybody excited.”

There’s something else Thomas wants to change this year.

She hopes to make the entire community feel they are welcome at the event, not just relay participants. Everyone and anyone is welcome to attend.

Several teams will be holding fundraisers and selling things like baked goods and homemade crafts. People can also come and watch the Celebrate Ceremony, which honours cancer survivors, and purchase a luminary for $5. The luminaries are special candles that are placed in paper bags and carry the name of cancer survivors and loved ones who have died. The paper bags, which are decorated and lit up once darkness falls, line the outside of the track; the committee’s goal is to have 1,000 luminaries, the amount it takes to fill the perimeter of the Phoenix track.

As a way to give back to the community, the luminaries will be held down with a can of non perishable food, instead of sand.

The day after the relay, all the cans will be given to the Campbell River Food Bank.

“We talked about how to give back to Campbell River, which has always been so supportive – Relay for Life couldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for the support of the community,” says Thomas. “So we’re asking participants and spectators to bring one can of food with them which we will in turn give to the food bank.”

Thomas says event will be one big 12-hour party “that’s going to touch everyone who comes to it in some way.”