Relay for Life

Event raises money for cancer in memory of UWO student

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

When doctors diagnosed Western graduate Shanna Larsen with cancer, she had four months to live. When she was only 24 years old, Larsen passed away from breast cancer.

Western’s Relay for Life is dedicated to Larsen. The annual event starts Saturday, March 31 at 7 p.m. and runs until 7 a.m. in the University Community Centre.

The 12-hour relay aims to unite the Western community in the fight against cancer by raising awareness.

“It’s not even about how much money we raise,” said Jaclyn Vice, Relay for Life co-ordinator. “It’s more about who comes out and the lives we touch.”

Teams of seven to 12 people can show their commitment to the cause by collecting pledges and staying up all night to participate in a running, jogging or walking relay on a track set up in the UCC.

Off-track events run throughout the night, including a coffee house featuring the band Contact The Office, a fashion show, a comedy routine and movies at The Spoke.

Tent City, a tent area where volunteers can rest, will be set up on the UCC’s upper floors.

The event opens with a speach by the President of London’s Canadian Cancer Society followed by a speech by the Larsen family. The relay begins with the Survivor’s Victory Lap, where cancer survivors, their friends and family walk to celebrate their struggles.

“We’re not only there to remember Shanna’s life, but also to celebrate cancer survivors from Western,” Vice said.

During the Luminary Ceremony, candles will be placed inside bags with messages written to loved ones lost to cancer. Participants can read the messages out loud throughout the night.

“From the bad can come good,” Vice said. “To me, that’s what this event is about. That’s the powerful message that you can take away from it.”

To register for the Relay for Life, visit Pledges can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society at For more information, e-mail

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