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Getting ready for the cancer cause

Manoj Kaushal is putting his lustrous locks on the line for Team BDO Cranbrook. - For the Townsman
Manoj Kaushal is putting his lustrous locks on the line for Team BDO Cranbrook.
— image credit: For the Townsman

Cranbrook and Kimberley community members are gearing up for the 2014 Relay For Life, which will be held on May 31 at the College of the Rockies.

The Relay sees teams fundraise for the Canadian Cancer Society by walking around the college track for 12 hours – from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This year's honourary chairs are the HAG Friends 4 Life — a group of women who have participated in the Relay for the past 10 years.

Joining the HAGS will be a team from the BDO Cranbrook office.

Both teams are committed to raising funds and awareness for cancer research in the lead-up to the Relay.

The HAG Friends 4 Life are a group of friends who have been gathering once or twice a year for more than 25 years. Ten years ago, they decided to enter a team in the Relay, and have become staunch supporters of the Cancer Society.

"We have developed a great friendship and bond, and Relay day for us is a fun day, with good friends, for a great cause," says the team. "We try our best to bring our spirit to the track each and every year, by cheering on others that are also there. We are all there for a cause, cancer affects everyone, be it a parent, spouse, child, friend or coworker, no one is untouched by cancer."

One team member, Oreen Walker, said she started participating in the relay because she lost both of her parents due to complications resulting from a cancer diagnosis. But six years ago, Oreen's partner was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

"She was very fortunate to have found it early, had surgery to remove the lump and spent time at the Cancer Clinic in Kelowna for radiation. I am happy to announce she has just had her five year checkup and is now cancer free," said Oreen.

"I have seen first-hand the cancer clinic and what they do for their patients. It is amazing, but the amount of people I saw broke my heart. We need to stop cancer all together, raising money for research is a start."

Barb Barbour said she takes part in the Relay to make a difference for everyone who is working hard to survive cancer.

"Very importantly, I Relay to honour my close friends who have survived cancer, and also, it allows me to grieve in a positive way for those that have lost their battle to cancer. I realize that the more support there is financially will definitely help find ways to cure cancer and this is very important to all of us."

Meanwhile, the team from BDO Cranbrook have set an impressive fundraising goal this year of $15,000. To help that reach that goal, Manoj Kaushal is putting his head on the line. More specifically — his lustrous locks.

Manoj, who admits to being awfully fond of his hair, has agreed to shave it off for $15,000.

Now, Team BDO Tame the Mane is busy fundraising to reach that goal, and has already raised 20 per cent of it.

BDO has participated in the past three Relay For Life events and the past four Slopes For Hope events at Kimberley Alpine Resort, and through those events it has previously raised $15,000.

Now hoping to reach that landmark amount once more, BDO is asking the community to make donations through their office at 35 – 10th Avenue South in Cranbrook, at the Canadian Cancer Society office at 19 – 9th Avenue South, or at www.relayforlife.ca by searching for BDO Tame the Mane.

You can also help the team by stopping by a charity barbecue at Cranbrook Dodge tomorrow, Saturday, May 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

You can register for the Relay for Life by visiting www.relayforlife.ca

For more information about the Cranbrook/Kimberley Relay For Life, please contact Jenn Smith at jsmith@bc.cancer.ca or at 250-426-8916.

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