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Posted: May 14, 2014

The HAG Friends 4 Life: Why Relay

The HAGS are a group of ladies that have been gathering once or twice a year for our annual Christmas parties or backyard barbecues.

These ‘gatherings’ have occurred for just over 25 years. We have had a few different HAGS come and go as the years have passed, but there are a core few that have been there for all the years. We decided one year that we were going to take part in the Relay for Life event, and this year marks our 10th consecutive Relay.

Our relay team is usually the same ladies that have been there from the start. We have developed a great friendship and bond, and Relay day for us is a fun day, with good friends, for a great cause. We try our best to bring our spirit to the track each and every year, by cheering on others that are also there. We are all there for a cause, cancer affects everyone, be it a parent, spouse, child, friend or coworker, no one is untouched by cancer. We know that what we do is a small piece in the big picture, but we are doing our best, as a team, to help eradicate cancer. Below you will find excerpts from some of the HAG Friends 4 Life team of ‘Why Relay.’

“My partner and I started relaying because I had lost both of my parents due to complications that started off with being diagnosed with cancer. It ended up with us paying it forward as my partner found a lump December 2008, which was diagnosed as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She was very fortunate to have found it early, had surgery to remove the lump and spent time at the Cancer Clinic in Kelowna for radiation. I am happy to announce she has just had her five-year checkup and is now cancer free! Her outcome was a great one, some are not so fortunate, this is why I relay. I have seen first-hand the cancer clinic and what they do for their patients, it is amazing, but the amount of people I saw broke my heart. We need to stop cancer all together, raising money for research is a start.” – Oreen Walker

“I Relay because I know research is so important to prevention and survival of cancer. My Mother died at 50 because there was no screening mammography. I lived at 51 because there is. In the 1970s Filgrastim was developed. Today it saves lives by boosting low white counts and stopping deadly chemotherapy induced infection. In the ’70s 95% of kids with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia did not survive. Today 95% survive.” – Debbie Dau

“Cancer has unfortunately touched many family members and friends of mine over the years; some who have won the battle and others that tried but did not succeed.  I participate with Relay for Life in support of those still fighting the fight and for those that may need to fight. Hopefully together we can all find a cure for Cancer so that others will not lose those that they loved so dearly.” – Rita Romeo

“I think of my friends: The ones who are fighting for their lives, the survivors, and the one’s I’ve lost. The relay is a chance for me to be part of the solution. The positive energy is amazing!” – Susan Zibin

“I Relay each year to try in some small way to make a difference for everyone who is battling this disease and working hard to survive it. Very importantly, I Relay to honour my close friends who have survived cancer, and also, it allows me to grieve in a positive way, for those that have lost their battle to cancer. I realize that the more support there is financially, will definitely help find ways to cure cancer and this is very important to all of us… the Hag team rocks!” – Barb Barbour

“I walk in the cancer relay for many reasons and for many friends and family, but the most important reason is… because it matters.” – Beth Carter

Our team was completely shocked, dismayed and truly honoured when we received the word that we had been named ‘Honourary Chair’ for Relay 2014. We are humbled by this honour and truly did not expect this type of recognition. Jenn asked us how we do what we do each year at the Relay, with the spirit that we bring and our answer to her was, “It just happens, because that is what  HAGS do.” Our whole team comes together and puts everything they have into this event as it is recognized by each and every one of us how important it is.

We hope that many of you reading this article will be inspired and consider taking part in a day that is sad at times, joyful at times and ultimately leaves you with a sense of pride and accomplishment for being part of such a wonderful community event.  See you on May 31, at the College of the Rockies track!


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