Members of Relay For Life team just want to help - Apr. 23, 2014
Alma Mosher, left, and her daughter, Kathy Blanchard, hold the small sign they used when Alma’s Dream Team first participated in the Relay For Life. The team celebrates its 11th year of participation this year on June 7.
Alma Mosher’s family and friends make a point of getting together every year for one very special event – the annual Relay For Life in St. Stephen.
“We want to help,” said Mosher, a cancer survivor.
The relay, which takes place June 7 at a new time this year - from 12 noon until midnight - on the walking track behind St. Stephen High School, raises funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.
This is the 12th year for the relay in this area, and the 11th year “Alma’s Dream Team” has participated.
Mosher’s daughter, Kathy Blanchard, is the team captain. She has participated in each relay, beginning as a member of a team formed by her cousin, Gloria, in support of a son who had cancer.
Blanchard said the idea for a team with her mom, siblings and friends came about when she watched her mother participate in the Survivor’s Lap during that first relay.
“I thought, ‘why not have our own team’?” said Blanchard. “We could have Mom for a mascot,” she added, with a laugh. Mosher smiled at her daughter’s teasing.
“It’s worked well,” said Blanchard with a grin at her mom.
This year there will be six daughters on Mosher’s team – Blanchard, Jessie Dyke, Loretta Kirke, Angela Walker, Charlene Crossman (and her two daughters, Jude, 16 and Lila, six) and Andrene Mosher. A friend of Mosher’s from church, Charlotte Smith, is also a member of the team.
A son, John, who is usually a member of the team, can’t participate this year because he will be working out west.
“And my husband, Kevin, I make him … I mean he does the relay,” Blanchard said with a laugh.
“The more family, the better,” said Mosher.
Mosher is asked how she keeps all those daughters under control during the 12-hour relay.
Before she can respond, Blanchard interjected with a laugh, “she has a whip!” Mosher just laughed.
There are some secrets about their plans for this year’s relay neither will reveal just yet. Blanchard urges her mother not to tell, saying she has only just convinced her husband to wear a certain type of pants; she doesn’t want to scare him off with the rest of the details.
“I hope we can get in there early and decorate our tent real good,” said Blanchard.
Neither one is too concerned about the change in the relay’s timing this year. The only drawback, said Blanchard, was participants always viewed the night portion of the relay as representative of a cancer patient’s “time of suffering.” Cold temperatures and rain doesn’t deter the walkers she said.
“If they did it, suffer, then so can we,” explained Blanchard, adding her team members are always prepared with umbrellas, rubber boots and ponchos.
Neither woman has a problem with staying awake through the night. When they’re sitting in their tent and start to feel tired, they get up and start walking.
Blanchard laughed when she related how the kids all get to sleep. “You see them in their lawn chairs. You just see a pile of blankets, but it’s a kid.”
All teasing aside, the two are sombre as they relate one of the important preparations they make each year before the relay.
“We have to think back over the past year of any friends or family who have passed on of cancer and add them to our sign,” explained Mosher.
Unfolding a very small sign the team used 11 years ago, Mosher said her team now has a much larger banner made to accommodate the increasing number of family and friends who either waged a successful battle against cancer or who lost the fight.
Blanchard said her father’s name, Lloyd Mosher, is included on the sign after he lost his fight with lung cancer seven years ago.
Alma Mosher is listed as one of the survivors. In 1986 doctors discovered a tumour on her adrenal gland. She had surgery in Toronto – no chemo or radiation treatments - and has remained cancer free since then.
The team members hold bake sales and yard sales to raise money for the relay.
Wendy MacLeod, a member of the relay’s organizing committee, said the general rule of thumb is to have each member of the relay team raise $100, with teams averaging 10 participants each.
It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it offers some guidance.
MacLeod said there are 15 teams registered so far for this year’s relay and she expects another 10 to sign up before the June 7 event. Anyone wishing to enter a team in the relay can contact MacLeod at 466-1838, ext. 4300 during working hours or at night or on weekends at 469-0013.
Mosher and Blanchard said they would encourage everyone to take part in the relay.
“It’s a fun time all together. We just look forward to it every year,” said Mosher.