Lilee Jean Putt and her father Andrew stepped to the microphone along with the other survivors to introduce themselves to the crowd and speak briefly about their experience fighting cancer.

Luminaries light up Harrison lagoon

Relay for Life draws out walkers and runners in Harrison Hot Springs

More than 100 people took part in the Relay for Life on Saturday night in Harrison Hot Springs.

There were 11 teams of 10 people making the 12 hour trek around the lagoon, beginning at 7 p.m. and wrapping up at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning. Each team raised money toward the Canadian Cancer Society, bringing the total so far to more than $33,500.

Organizer Tim Dixon said the number is still rising, as donors are welcome to continue pledging their support.

This year marked 75 years for the CCS, but was the second year the popular relay was held in Harrison Hot Springs. Much like last year, the weather was beautiful for the duration of the relay, providing for beautiful scenery for the walkers and runners  throughout the night.

Each relay begins with a ‘survivor’s walk’ where those who have battled cancer or are in treatment currently are invited to take the first lap. This year, many local familiar faces were among the survivor’s, both as long-time survivors, multiple survivors and those currently in treatment.

Among them was Lilee-Jean Putt, whose father grew up in Agassiz and whose family still resides here. Lilee-Jean is currently in treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer, and her mother is chronicling their story online through the Love for Lilee website. Her story has earned much media coverage and the tough three year old girl has captured the hearts of many in the Fraser Valley.

A distinctive feature of the Harrison Relay is the setting, and the paper bag luminaries that line the walk along the lagoon. This year, more than 200 luminaries were lit, adding to the beauty of the scenic walk, but also highlighting the need for a cure.

Each luminary costs $5, and each is decorated in honour of someone who lost their life to cancer, or who is currently in treatment. They are lit after dark, and after the entertainment is over.

This year, local entertainer Todd Richard lent a hand both as emcee and singer, along with performers Matthew Cheverie, Andrew Christopher and The Cattails. Two members of the Harrison Highlanders piped the walkers along following the light of the luminaries.

To make a donation, visit www.relaybc.ca and search for Harrison Hot Springs.

news@ahobserver.com