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HomeNewsLifelong relay lover hoping to revive cancelled Relay for Life

Lifelong relay lover hoping to revive cancelled Relay for Life

“We should not have been the biggest event in the country to nothing.”

When she found out Prince George’s Relay for Life had been permanently called off on its 30th anniversary, she was heartbroken.

Megan Goetken has been participating in the Relay for Life for as long as she can remember, but her passion for it really started with a cherished memory.

“It started with me walking the survivors lap with my Grandpa when I was 13 or 14,” around 10 years ago, she told My PG Now.

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Since then, Goetken has participated every year, including the full 24 hours some years, and when she was living outside of Prince George she helped start up another relay at her former school on Vancouver Island.

In two years, she said they raised a combined $22,000.

“Last year I was disappointed to hear [the relay] was going to be six hours, but at least they were doing something,” Goetken said.

When the event was canceled due to the weather, she still went out and walked for 24 hours alone.

“I use it as grieving,” she said, “and it is important to me – even if people don’t walk for 24 hours I think it is different than just doing a car wash, you are putting your body through a challenge. With cancer it is a challenge all of the time.”

Goetken said she has lost 15 people, many to cancer, in the last three and a half years.

“To know that we went from the biggest 24 hour relay in Canada to nothing is really disappointing,” she said.

Because of this, Goetken is in the early stages of trying to bring the relay back herself, and she is looking for help.

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“I honestly have no idea what I am doing,” she said with a laugh.

She has been reaching out to people in the community who could share in her interest to preserve the relay, even if it is on a smaller scale and later in the summer.

The Canadian Cancer Society will be running a program called Relay Your Way.

First introduced in the pandemic, it allows people to fundraise and walk independently of any organized relay across the country.

Goetken said this will be the only form of support she will be able to get from the Canadian Cancer Society to save the event.

“It is scary,” she said. “I don’t want to give people that hope that I can take on this massive thing and do an independent relay and then not be able to pull it off.”

She is asking anyone who is also interested in reviving the relay to reach out to her email at [email protected]

Regardless of if the relay runs or not, Goetken said she will be walking the full 24 hours again this summer.

“For me in high school, I did not have a lot of friends whose grandparents had cancer… But when you are in this community and everyone is walking, the amount of stories you hear, it is a safe place to be vulnerable. I miss that community, it has been a long time since we have had it, and I think Prince George needs it back.”

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