The sound of bagpipes and cheers echoed on the field outside of the INVISTA Centre in Kingston Friday night, as cancer survivors walked the first lap of the Relay For Life.
Cathy Meyers, a cancer survivor and the keynote speaker at the event, says the walking the lap is “like a victory. People are cheering and clapping for us as we walk. There is such a support and a sense of celebration”
Meyers has been battling lymphoma since 2011, during which time her cancer went into remission before returning about two years ago. Meyers is still in high spirits and not letting anything bring her down.
“Just grabbing life with both hands and ringing as much fun out of it,” Meyers said.
Meyers says she is able to hold on to this attitude thanks to all her supporters.
Shirley Brown, chairperson of Relay For Life for the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington regions, said, “This is a disease that can make you feel isolated.” Knowing that “there are people out there, who are caring and who are working hard to have this disease eradicated” helps, she added.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, over 200,000 people were diagnosed with cancer last year, and close to 90,000 people died from it in 2017.
This is the 19th year in a row that Relay For Life is being held in Kingston. The six-hour event included a superhero walk for kids in costumes, a buddy walk in which participants partnered up with a person they’ve never met before, and also the chance to light candles towards the end of the night and reflect — something Meyers has really learned from.
“What really matters is making memories with your family and your friends,” she said.
The event will be held again next year in June.