Relay for Life reminds people they are not alone

Richard Bone will be one of many Central Albertans taking part in the survivor’s victory lap at Red Deer’s 2014 Relay for Life on June 13.

Richard Bone will be one of many Central Albertans taking part in the survivor’s victory lap at Red Deer’s 2014 Relay for Life on June 13.

“Last year was my first relay. It’s pretty inspiring,” said the 43-year-old from Ponoka.

“You walk around with these people and talk to them and it’s incredible the amount of strength people have, and you gain that from these people as well.”

Bone, who is also co-chair of the event, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in December 2012. It matasticized to his liver and five lymph nodes. He’s undergone surgery and continues to receive chemotherapy.

The diagnosis was swift after he experienced pain while on his job in the oilpatch.

“I had no prior symptoms. I was working one night … and developed some upper abdominal pain under my ribs. My supervisor said you’re a tough guy, but you’re going to the hospital,” Bones said at the relay’s launch on Friday at CrossRoads Church.

Bone said the relay reminds people that they’re not alone. Getting involved in organizing the event also gave him something positive to focus on.

“One of the hardest things to get over is going from working pretty much every single day, long hours and hard work, to doing nothing. It’s hard to adjust.”

He wants everyone at the 2014 relay to have a good time and “raise a pile of dough.”

Relay for Life is the Canadian Cancer Society’s biggest fundraiser of the year that brings people together to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones and fight back against all cancers.

The 12-hour relay runs from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.. It is a non-competitive event involving teams of up to 15 people who take turns walking or running around the track at CrossRoads Church.

Over the past 12 years, the Red Deer relay has brought in over $2.6 million. Together with other relays in Central Alberta, a total of $4.3 million has been raised in the region.

Red Deer relay co-chair Sharon Butler said so far 23 teams have signed up for the 13th annual event.

Her family has participated for the past 11 years. She suspects it’s the companionship that keeps people coming back.

“They all stay in tents. They walk the tracks together. Even if you’re walking by yourself, there will be someone else walking, and you just automatically start talking. It’s just very comforting for me.”

She said the luminaries that line the track glow like a beacon of light and represent the hope that eventually there will be an answer to cancer.

Bone said it’s inspiring to see the luminaries glow throughout the night.

“Every day there’s something new to fight,” Bone said.

For more information about the 2014 relay, visit relayforlife.ca.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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