Relay for Life moved to Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse

As night fell, the glow of the luminaries and the hope sign lit Kinsmen Park at the June 2, 2018 Relay for Life event. (Photo courtesy Doug Dahl/Relay for Life Prince Albert)

The 2019 Relay for Life is moving inside.

Wednesday, organizers of the annual cancer fundraiser announced that due to cool and wet weather forecasted for the week, the event, scheduled for Kinsmen Park, would be held inside at the Alfred Jenkins Fieldhouse.

‘it will be a different vibe for sure, but being in the fieldhouse the last few days, looking how we may set it up, people will really like it,” said Relay for Life co-chair Bruce Vance.

“It’s unfortunate we’re not outside, but we’re going to make the best of it on Saturday.”

According to Vance, the Prince Albert event is one of the more successful ones across Canada. For many years, it’s been the largest fundraiser in the province, beating out events in Regina and Saskatoon.

“Lyle Karasiuk, my co-chair, has done a great job and I’m fortunate this year to be a co-chair with him,” Vance said. “He has run a masterful relay for many, many years.”

While the event is moving inside, the schedule is remaining the same.

Opening ceremonies are set for noon, with the survivors’ victory lap kicking off the walk at 12:20 p.m. The caregiver recognition is set for 6 p.m., head shaves and hair cuts for cancer at 6:30, luminary ceremony at 10 and closing ceremonies at 11:45 p.m.

When asked what his favourite part of the relay was, Vance couldn’t come up with just one.

“There are many, many different elements. For me, the survivor’s lap, seeing all the yellow t-shirts and looks on people’s faces is pretty neat,” he said.

“We added in a caregiver’s ceremony last year, and that’ a highlight as well when we get to hear a different side of the journey with cancer.”

The luminary ceremony is also a highlight, Vance said.

“At about 10 p.m. we will light up the ‘hope’ sign. Bagpipers will play amazing grace marching towards the sign and we’ll have a moment of silence where all of the luminaries will be illuminated. It will be totally dark except for the luminaries and the hope sign around the facility, and that is a very striking moment.”

Music acts have been lined up to provide entertainment throughout the day.

“Wilf (Savisky) and his wife Irene will be there at 11. They have been doing this since day one. They warm everybody up and are a great supporter of the event,” Vance said.

‘Ther are a lot of people who donate their time and come to put on a great show for 45 minutes or so. All of the people coming out have a special reason to give their time freely.”

At 10 p.m., LJ Tyson will sing the luminary song to accompany that emotional moment.

“That will be moving as well,” Vance said.

While finishing touches are being put on the event, Vance said it’s not too late for people to get involved.

‘The fieldhouse will be open to the general public right up to midnight,” he said.

“You can come and sponsor a team or buy luminaries.”

Luminaries, Vance said, are a great way to remember someone who has lost their battle with cancer or honour someone who has defeated or someone who is still fighting. They cost $5 each.

“It’s a great way to get involved and support your loved ones who have been touched with cancer,” Vance said.

“The people in Prince Albert have been tremendous over the years.”