Starting with a lap by cancer survivors, the Southridge Relay for Life ran from 3-9 p.m. Friday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

South Surrey student-led Relay for Life raises $102,000

Southridge students say the cause is ‘personal’

Labelled as one of the most successful youth-led Relay for Life events in the country, Southridge School students at the helm of organizing the event say they do it because “it’s personal.”

Grade 11 student Avery Martin, 17, told Peace Arch News Friday that he joined the event’s organizing committee, which includes 30 students, partly because of his mother.

“My mom had cancer so it’s a personal cause for me, she had it when she was in her 30s, she’s better now,” Martin said moments before the annual event started. “I’ve done the relay since Grade 8. We’ve done it for a long time.”

More than 227 participants walked the track on school grounds from 3-9 p.m.

As of Saturday, the event raised more than $102,000, and the students are still accepting donations at www.relayforlife.ca/southridge

Last year’s event, organized by then Grade 12 student Justin Sangh, raised more than $100,000. Before Justin graduated, he passed event-organizing duties to his younger brother Jaden.

“I’ve been very honoured to take that responsibility on,” Jaden told PAN. “With the support of the community and committee, and hard work, we’ve been able to pull it off.”

The cause is close to the brothers. Their mother, Satinder Sanghe, beat breast cancer six years ago.

“We have 227 participants – that’s two-thirds of the school – coming together on a common cause that affects so many people. Being able to make such a big difference as a community is just really heartwarming for me and heartwarming for the entire community,” Jaden said.

Martin said one of the goals of this year’s event was to ensure that every student that participated made a contribution, regardless of how large or small that donation may be.

“Jaden didn’t want to have a zero beside anyone’s name,” Martin explained. “This year, we really pushed the hashtag #BeAHeroDontHaveAZero.”

“It’s really worked, we only have about six or seven people that have zeros out of the whole event.”

Organizing committee member Alex Wang, 16, said that while the goal for this year’s event was $100,000, that it wouldn’t have mattered if it wasn’t reached. The important part, he said, was doing the best that they could.

“We really like to stress kids helping kids. That’s one of the most important messages this entire event conveys,” he told PAN.

The money is to be directed towards pediatric cancer research.

A representative from the Relay for Life told PAN that the Southridge event is one of the top-three most successful student-led youth events in Canada.

 

Southridge students warm up for the event with a dance Friday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

Southridge students warm up for the event with a dance Friday. (Aaron Hinks photo)

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