My first all-nighter (for a good cause and a great time!)

Every year around this time, I travel to my small, hometown to participate in a huge event with my rather large family.

I’m sure a lot of people are familiar with the Relay for Life but, just in case, I’ll give you the low down. It’s a fundraising event that starts at 7pm and ends at 7am the next morning. Teams of people sign up and at least one team member must be walking the track at all times. The track is lit with luminaries (white bags filled with candles) that are ‘In Honour of” or ‘In Memory of’ people who have fought cancer. There is music, games and food throughout the night and in the morning, you all find out just how much money you’ve raised. All proceeds go to the Canadian Cancer Society to support people with cancer and to support cancer research.


Like most families, mine is definitely touched by cancer. Both my mom and my aunt are breast cancer survivors (my aunt survived it twice, many years apart), my grandfather has beat prostate cancer and many extended relatives have died of the disease. So, this whole event is kind of a big deal for my family.

And since it’s such a big event for us, we do it up in style. We have a team of anywhere between 25 and 35. We set up tents, bring food and get our walking shoes on.

Not everyone lasts the whole night. Some go home for a few hours of shut eye before coming back early in the morning for the last lap. Others set up tents and grab a quick nap here and there. And then the real troopers, they stay up all night. They shift between walking the track and refueling with grandma’s cookies.

I am proud to say that this year, I was one of those troopers. I did not try for a wink of sleep until I got home when it was all said and done at 8am! This is kind of a big deal for me as I have never pulled an all-nighter in my life!

Before I get to the part where I tell you how much money we raised (it’s staggering and worth sticking around for), I have to tell you about my favourite part of the whole night.

My family is pretty close. My dad is one of 6 and all but one of those siblings live within 15 km of my grandparents (the one that’s not close is a whopping 2 hours away and comes to visit often!). I am one of 16 grandchildren ranging in age from 31 to 5. We are all loud and we all love attention. I love that we get together so often but because there are so many of us I don’t often get a chance to catch up with anyone one-on-one.

As the Relay runs over a full 12 hours, it’s a great opportunity to catch up with all my cousins and aunts and uncles. I can walk the track with each of them at least 5 times before the night is through. I learned all about my one cousin’s college program, my other cousin’s plans for college and another cousin’s Grade 8 Graduation dress (it’s purple and black and there may be cheetah print involved!). I quizzed my uncle on his trip to Switzerland as a kid (my grandparents first time on a plane) and about growing up being subjected to 80s music.

All around it was an awesome night. There were a few hiccups with a MASSIVE thunder storm complete with lightning and torrential rains (we went inside the high school for a while) but, all in all, the night was a HUGE success.

So, now for the money part. My town of 4,600 people pulled together 26 teams of 300 participants to stay up all night (in the rain) to raise money for cancer.

Those 300 participants were able to raise:


For a small town in a difficult economy, that, my friends is incredible.

I’m so proud of my town and my family (my family alone raised $7070).


5 Responses to “My first all-nighter (for a good cause and a great time!)”

  1. 1 Blondie June 14, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    Thanks for stopping by the blog! Do you live in Yellowknife?

  2. 2 erinuncensored June 11, 2010 at 10:16 am

    i love the relay for life. i used to do it allll the time when i was younger- high school and early college, and i haven’t since 😦
    so proud of you! thats great 🙂

  3. 3 Nora June 10, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    How inspiring! I love that the track is lit with luminaries at night. I wonder if they have a Relay for Life here in St. Louis. I’d totally be up for it. We still have such a long way to go when it comes to cancer and sickness. Kudos to you for walking this!

  4. 4 Kate June 9, 2010 at 10:41 am

    This is the best post – I am very proud to say that I am part of this family – and next year I am going to be saving up my air-miles to make it home for this! I want to see more pictures – Please send!

  5. 5 ria June 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

    wow that is amazing! what a wonderful thing for such a great cause. congrats! 🙂

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Hi There!

I'm Claire. I like to write about ridiculous things.

I love chocolate but don't think cheese and cake belong together.

I often wish it was socially acceptable to wear glitter before 10pm.

If you want to chat, email me at clairesuzanne1 at gmail dot com.


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