St. Thomas More Relay for Life Event

St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School Community Raises Over $27,000 at Relay for Life Event
Posted on 06/03/2024
STM students dressed for Relay for Life

On Friday, May 24, 2024, St. Thomas More Catholic Secondary School grounds were filled with energy and hope as the community gathered for the second annual Relay for Life event. Organized by the Knights Fighting Cancer (KFC) group, the event saw a robust turnout with 325 students, 25-30 staff members, and approximately 30 family members participating, totaling around 380 attendees.

The event, which ran from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., on the school's football field, was marked by heartfelt moments and a strong sense of community. The many blue and yellow balloons served as a vivid reminder of why everyone was there, adding to the atmosphere of hope and solidarity. The day featured a BBQ, fun games, and kicked off with a Survivor's Lap, where survivors led the way with everyone walking in support behind them.

The highlight of the day was the moving words shared by Claudia Sambuco, a teacher at St. Thomas More and a cancer survivor. Sambuco shared her journey of resilience and hope after being diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer on November 19, 2021.

"We are here because we ALL believe in the power of HOPE," Sambuco stated. "It is in difficult moments like this that I truly believe we find our strength. From that strength, we build resiliency, character, and determination."

Sambuco also spoke about the personal growth she experienced through her battle with cancer. "The past year and a half have taught me to embrace my struggles and make powerful connections with an incredible amount of outstanding people," she shared. "I want you all to know that no matter your struggle, my wish is that it enables you to find your strength within. The inner strength you didn’t know you had…the strength that helps you carry on. From fear and despair, I’ve found acceptance. And from that acceptance, I know my fears have been left in the past."

She concluded with a message for us all: "Please remember that what is meant to initially bring you down, can empower you to not only change your life for the better, but it can give reassurance to others who are seeking your help, guidance, and friendship."

The Knights Fighting Cancer group, initiated last year, has quickly become a cornerstone of the school's community efforts. Besides organizing the Relay for Life, they engage in various activities throughout the year to raise awareness and funds for cancer-related causes, including Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Movember. They work closely with local charities like Wellwood to support their missions.

Last year's inaugural relay event raised $18,000, setting a high benchmark. This year, the group set a goal of $20,000 and surpassed it significantly, raising over $27,000. This achievement underscores the community's dedication and the collective effort to combat cancer.

Alexis Saranko, staff advisor for the KFC, reflected on the event: "Cancer affects so many of us today, and it's time we came together as a community at St. Thomas More to take action. The KFC club and this relay event provide our staff and students with a tangible way to contribute to the fight against cancer. Cancer unites us all, fostering a strong sense of community."

Saranko continued, "This event demonstrated the power of coming together to support one another and work towards a common cause. Thank you to everyone who participated and contributed to making this event a success. Together, we are stronger in our fight against cancer."

The event not only provided a platform for fundraising but also reinforced the message that no one has to face cancer alone. The sense of unity and shared purpose was palpable, showcasing the strength of the St. Thomas More CSS community in fighting against cancer.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, nearly half of Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Events like Relay for Life are crucial in funding groundbreaking research and providing support systems for those affected.

The success of this year's Relay for Life at St. Thomas More CSS stands as a testament to what can be achieved when a community comes together for a cause that touches so many lives.

Survivor Lap starters STM students walking for Relay for Life STM band members playing for the event STM Students walking togetherStudents dressed in Relay for Life tshirts walkingSurvivor lap participants holding the banner