Rhoni Whyard knows how emotional the Relay for Life victory lap is for cancer survivors, because she supported her mom and sister through cancer and has now survived it herself.
The young mother and local businesswoman won her fight with thyroid cancer and is now helping to organize the Relay for Life on the Sunshine Coast.
"Get involved in a great cause. It does make a difference - look at me," Whyard said.
Whyard was fortunate to have been diagnosed in November 2008 as advancements in the treatment of thyroid cancer three months earlier made her cure less of an ordeal. She watched her mom and sister go through debilitating treatment with their thyroid cancer.
Following surgical removal of the thyroid, "They had to be off all medications for around six weeks before radiation and about that afterward and then it takes up to three months for medication to build up. It's the meds that give you energy," she said. "I was hospitalized for three days, received a series of shots and was given a drink and I didn't have to go off my meds."
With two small children to care for, Whyard was grateful for the ease with which she was treated.
Relay for Life is an annual, 12-hour, overnight fundraising event where teams run or walk laps for pledges. The Sunshine Coast relay will be held May 30 and 31 at Roberts Creek Elementary School. Whyard said a tent city will be erected as teams and volunteers move in.
"Everyone camps out. Activities start at 7 p.m. and they run until midnight," said Whyard. "There will be a main tent with heating pads, massage, tarot card reading, healing activities like reiki, lots of food and a big bonfire at dusk that will go all night."
Last year the Sunshine Coast relay raised $92,000. Whyard said their goal for this year is $97,000, but the goal maybe a bit harder to achieve as they are down 10 teams. She said teams of six to 10 people can join up right until relay day.
Like the victory lap at 7 p.m. for all cancer survivors, the remembrance ceremony is for everyone to join in who has lost a loved one to caner and will be at 10:30. Luminaries can be purchased at the event or in advance at Scotia Bank.
Whyard is still looking for relay teams, volunteers and entertainers who would like to keep the mood up for the teams as the night goes on. Call Rhoni at 604-865-1612 if you want to get involved.