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Relay for Life returns after two-year hiatus

Thompson’s first in-person fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society was held in the C.A. Nesbitt Arena June 11.

The Canadian Cancer Society fundraiser Relay for Life returned to Thompson for the first time since before that pandemic on June 11.

Smaller than in previous years after being put on hold since 2019, the event is still both a reminder that much progress has been made in cancer research and treatment and that there is still a long way to go.

Though still a test of endurance, cancer treatment is less gruelling today because of advances in reducing side effects, said event emcee David James.

“The side effects are terrible sometimes," he said, recalling a friend of his who was diagnosed with cancer at a young age. “But because of the research that has been done, a lot of those side effects are not as severe as they used to be.”

Jeff Lindstrom, who volunteered at many previous Thompson relays and served as the chairperson for more than one of them, said his family was first touched by cancer when his mother was diagnosed with it. She survived five years while battling the disease.

“She was grateful for the extra years her treatment gave her and during that time, that extra five years, she travelled to spend time with family and friends and she really enjoyed life because she had that second chance,” said Lindstrom.

More recently, the disease hit close to home again when his son started complaining of chest pains and doctors found a mass between his lungs and esophagus. He underwent six rounds of chemotherapy and 15 radiation treatments but is now cancer free.

“It’s events like Relay for Life that helped raise money for cancer research and prevention which helps people beat this horrible disease,” Lindstrom said. “It’s an event like this that is the reason that my son is here with us today.”

Tom O'Brien of 610 CHTM said the radio station was proud to be a sponsor of the relay but that credit for the event goes to the organizing committee.

“Congratulations to everyone that’s made tonight possible for the first time in three years,” O’Brien said.