Tillsonburg's 2014 Relay for Life kicked off on the eve of June 6th – a historic day – when D-Day commenced in Normandy 70 years ago.
Tillsonburg Relay for Life chair Steve Kyle recalled that battle and another battle that continues today in the form of cancer.
"We are a very caring and supportive community," said Kyle, confident Relay for Life will make a difference. "Each of you here is a testament to that, so I thank you so much for coming out and showing everybody how special this community is.
"Thank you to the teams for coming out and raising all the money for research and support. Thanks for decorating all your sites – and yourselves – which makes it even better.
"I want to thank all volunteers for making this site so special... I want to thank those who donated all our tents, our stage, the special flowers here. And the man who runs our sound, thank you Peter we really, really appreciate you donating all the time and equipment.
"Also I want to thank all the sponsors for their donations, we could not do it as well if it was not for you. We have over 100 different sponsors here who do everything they can to make this event what it is."
Tracy Bucholtz, Canadian Cancer Society Oxford Branch Fundraising Coordinator, represented the Canadian Cancer Society speaking during the 2014 Relay for Life opening ceremonies.
"I'm thrilled to be at Relay for Life in Tillsonburg once again," said Bucholtz. "Tillsonburg's event always kicks off our Relay for Life season in Oxford County, and it is always special for me to see the first Survivors' Victory Lap, the first luminary ceremony, and feel the energy as each team makes their first lap around the track.
"Relay for Life in Tillsonburg is part of a global movement, it takes place in 22 countries around the world. And in each country, in each city, at each event, the participants share a common goal of raising money to defeat cancer, so one day nobody in the world will have to fear the word cancer.
"The Canadian Cancer Society uses this money to fund life-saving cancer research. More people are surviving cancer than ever before. Today, 63 per of people diagnosed with cancer will survive the diseasse compared to only 25 per cent in the 1940s when we began funding research. We've stopped cancer before it starts. Our researchers are leading the fight to prevent cancer, while we promote healthy lifestyles and advocate for policies to protect our health.
"The money raised insures no one facing cancer is alone by offering compassionate services and support to those living with cancer and their family and friends. It helps empower Canadians with important information about cancer to help them make informed choices about their health.
"Although Relay is a global movement, we also know that each Relay is unique, and there's no exception to that statement when it comes to Tillsonburg. I would to thank a group of very important people for making this event so unique, so fun, so meaningful. This group works tirelessly through the year right up until and throughout event day. It's all of the volunteers who take their time to organize this event. If you see anyone walking around in a navy blue shirt with the word COMMITEE written on the back, please take a minute to thank them. This event would not be what it is without them.
"Thank you also to the support of our sponsors, so many of them in Tillsonburg, for continuously supporting this event.
"And lastly, but not least," Bucholtz summed up, "I would like to thank you all, the participants, the cancer survivors, the donors, the volunteers, and wish you a great night ahead."