RCI is Relay for Life campaign's largest youth fundraiser in Canada

Posted on Wednesday April 15, 2015
RCI award
RCI award

Renfrew Collegiate Institute was recognized for being the top youth fundraiser for the Relay for Life campaign in Canada.

RCI hosted its Relay for Life Pancake Breakfast and Kick Off Assembly on Friday, March 27 and was honoured for its incredible achievement.

Relay for Life youth program specialist Cam Whalen was on hand to present a plaque to RCI’s Relay for Life organizing committee in honour of the school’s raising of more than $700,000 since 2006.

The emotional and inspirational assembly gets the school’s student body pumped up for the huge undertaking that is RCI’s Relay for Life fundraising. Renfrew’s actual Relay for Life will be held on Friday, May 22 and runs from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m.

The assembly provides information about the event and heart-warming stories from those who need those donations.

RCIS student Damien Mee grew his hair for more than a year. He said he endured teasing as well as the hang ups of having long hair. During the assembly RCI teacher Deb Sutherland cut Damien’s hair off – which will now be donated and used to create a wig for a cancer patient who needs one.

RCI student and Renfrew native Paige Dillabough also shared her story at the assembly. In January, 2003 she was diagnosed with a Medullablastoma - a malignant brain tumour located in the cerebellum area of the brain. She had a 14-hour surgery which resulted in a condition called Cerebella Mutism and Posterior Fossa Syndrome which means Dillabough had to learn to do things all over again. Dillabough went through 56 weeks of heavy radiation and chemotherapy and had to re-learn to do things such as walking.

At the assembly she talked of a necklace she made – adding a bead to it every time she has had an appointment or procedure to deal with her cancer. That necklace now weighs more than Paige and extended the entire length of the RCI gym.

It was during her recovery she became a fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. She has been honoured with the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers in 2014 and will be the honorary survivor at Relay for Life in Renfrew.

RCI’s Relay for Life committee organizes several other fundraisers in the lead up to the day including a carnival weekend. All of this and the support of the caring community the school is situated, has created a fundraising effort that raises more than $87,000 annually.

If you would like to register a team, or donate to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, click here.