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'Very close and personal': 10th Hants West Relay For Life set for June 2

Richard Smith and Pam Northup have been participating in the Hants West Relay For Life since its inception. They hope to see a large crowd gathered for the 10th annual event on June 2.
Richard Smith and Pam Northup have been participating in the Hants West Relay For Life since its inception. They hope to see a large crowd gathered for the 10th annual event on June 2. - Carole Morris-Underhill

WINDSOR, N.S. — Hants County residents will be lacing up their shoes June 2 to help fund cancer research.

For Richard Smith and Pam Northup, the Hants West Relay For Life has been an annual tradition since its inception, and it's one that's dear to their hearts.

“It's very close and personal for many of us who participate in the relay,” said Smith, noting he is a prostate cancer survivor.

His wife, Crystal Smith, is currently battling cancer and is also a longtime relay supporter.

“Our former fire chief, Fred Fox, battled it for many, many years,” Smith added, noting he's a member of the Windsor Fire Department Sparky's Relay For Life team.

For Northup, who is the co-chair of this year's event on June 2, it's seeing loved ones battle cancer that gives her the drive to take up the fight.

“My mom has dealt with cancer. Pat Westlake, our team member who is like a second mom or grandmom... she is the super hero of our team. She's battling it again,” said Northup.

“It's very important. It seems like every day there's more and more cases of cancer and it's not just someone out there — it's people we know and love. It's important to keep fighting.”

The 10th annual Hants West Relay For Life will be held indoors at the Hants County Exhibition Grounds in Windsor on June 2 from 6 p.m. until midnight. The evening starts with a survivors’ lap, where a sea of people wearing yellow survivor shirts officially kick off the six-hour fundraising event. Soon after, yellow balloons are released into the sky. The always-emotional luminary ceremony, where small paper lanterns containing candles are lit in memory of loved ones, causes a hush to befall the track. Live entertainment and activities are scheduled throughout the evening.

“It's celebrate, remember and fight back — that's the key elements of this,” said Smith, who also performs with the Fret Notes during the relay.

“We're celebrating lives of those who have been treated and saved, we're remembering those who are gone, and we're fighting back against this very terrible disease by trying to raise funds for research to help this move forward.”

The first year the relay was held in Windsor, seven teams registered and five teams showed up. The highest involvement was a few years back when 42 teams participated. This year, Northup said they have about a dozen teams registered. She hopes to see that number increase as the relay approaches. Anyone can sign up to participate or to donate to a team, even on the night of the relay. For more information, she encourages residents to visit the Facebook page called Hants West Relay For Life or register online at http://convio.cancer.ca/site/TR?fr_id=23685&pg=entry.

If you go

What: Hants West Relay for Life

Where: Hants County Exhibition Grounds, 221 Wentworth Rd., Windsor

When: June 2, 2018 from 6 p.m. until midnight

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