Raising money for cancer research at “Relay for Life” in Longueuil

“We got to keep going,” says Cristina Marcogliese, participant at the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Longueuil, south of Montreal. Thousands across Canada partook in the event’s 25th anniversary on Saturday. Pamela Pagano reports.

Hundreds of Quebecers laced up their sneakers to raise money for cancer research Saturday on Montreal’s South Shore – to show that every step makes a difference.

The 25th edition of the Canadian Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” took place in 19 municipalities across Quebec.

At the event in Longueuil, participants were not deterred by wet, cold and windy conditions.

“I feel like we’re doing this because it’s showing us that no matter how they feel, they’re still fighting this illness. So even if we’re tired and even if we’re wet and even if we’re cold, we got to keep going,” said Cristina Marcogliese, the co-team leader of Heritage Regional High School Team.

“We’re raising funds to hopefully beat it one day.”

Canadian Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” in Longueuil on June 8, 2024. (Pamela Pagano, CityNews)

Marcogliese has been an advocate for Relay for Life for several years, involving her family and coworkers. The event took on a personal connotation for her this time around.

“I also lost my aunt last year,” she told CityNews. “So I became a person who was affected by this. Whereas before I was a cheerleader, now I’m its biggest advocate because I think the Relay for Life is really important.

“Let’s make sure that there’s relays everywhere and let’s just keep raising funds.”

Canadian Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life” in Longueuil on June 8, 2024. (Pamela Pagano, CityNews)

Marcogliese’s Heritage Regional was one of the many teams participating in Saturday’s relay. They raised the fourth-highest amount for the Longueuil chapter of the event: more than $6,000.

“It was nice to see everyone get on board and do it for the community,” said fellow co-leader Nancy Turriff.

This year, 6,000 participants across 26 Relay for Life sites Canada-wide raised $4.2 million for cancer research and support services.

“It’s a great way to help people who are suffering,” Turriff said. “That’s why we have to make sure that someone’s always walking in support of the people that are hurting.”

Participants walked or ran around a track to honour their loved ones and all those affected by cancer. They passed a baton filled with a message written by one of the “participants of hope” — those living with a cancer or survivors.

The participants of hope, wearing yellow t-shirts, were honoured during the first lap – the “lap of hope.”

And after sunset, luminaries lit the track in memory of those lost.

“Even if it’s an event that’s very, very emotional, at the same time we celebrate too, it’s important I think to celebrate life,” said Marie-Helene Chretien, director of the Longueuil event.

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