Cancer doesn't take a year off! (Levensloop Kortrijk)

The feedback we received from the first Levensloop (Relay For Life) Kortrijk event back in October 2015 taught the entire committee that our participants had a great weekend and a great experience. The gratitude we received for organizing this made each one of us very proud!

It was worth it: even all the preparations! These consisted of the creation of a beautiful weekend for all of our cancer survivors – anyone who has ever heard the words “you have cancer,” bringing together as much solidarity (teams) as possible, and a beautiful program for catering, entertainment, and logistics!. Of course also attracting all the sponsors: getting everything fully sponsored makes those incoming fundraising-euro’s actually go to the fight against cancer!

Plans were quickly made for our 2nd event: after being the co-president last year I took over the presidency from Lieve Maes and we expanded the committee. From Kortrijk we could grant the national request from Stichting Tegen Kanker – supported by the major of Kortrijk – for the 2nd event! Stichting Tegen Kanker is the national organizer of Relay For Life and appeals to local committees but therefor asks for an annual returning event… because cancer doesn’t skip a year!

The actual start for the preparations of this 2nd event was only given after Brecht Gunst took over from the previous regional coordinator… somewhere in the 1st trimester! This meant that we had a shorter timeframe to get everything together because of the switch in the Stichting Tegen Kanker, the committee, and this made it feel more like it was our first event all over again! We were working hard and hoping this was going to come together on September 12th & 13th at the Campus De Lange Munte in Kortrijk.

It was with shaking knees that I got on stage together with Jurgen Catry, a little bit before 3 PM on that September 12th! Just seeing that enthusiastic ocean of people… so many happy faces… happy committee members… and after the touching opening song all that tension disappeared like snow before the sun.

It was fantastic to see all those 93 teams walking in that opening lap!

Soon we noticed that all the fighters (survivors) were perfectly received in the fighters lounge, the children’s entertainment was going well… the teams were satisfied with the logistics… and new for this year: the mission activities were a hit! Great work from the sub committees of the fighters, entertainment and catering, logistics, mission… and all of this thanks to the many volunteers, which the sub committees coordinated all on their own.

All the volunteers were once again great… two volunteers who were probably working the longest hours were our amazing hosts: Yves & Olivier (left).

The only thing left was the question whether the luminaria ceremony was going to be able to go on or not because the air in the sky wasn’t looking too good!

But yes, it stayed dry! Having a beautiful song at the opening ceremony by Steffie, we had our 2nd highlight from Anna Julia who brought the whole place in the right mood, which was absolutely necessary for the enduring text from Sam that followed.

 

The entire weekend there were great performances: thank you to all the groups who volunteered their time to perform for us!

On Sunday we had to run from one side of the field to the other side of the field: we were once again organizing a lot in 24 hours. While our participants had fun, there just wasn’t enough time for the organizers to get a taste of everything that was going on!

Luckily there was time for me to pass by my own cyclo4cancer team:

Around 3PM it was the moment of glory: the announcement of the fundraising amount! When we organize RFL for the fighters, to reach as much solidarity as possible, getting a beautiful check for the fight against cancer is the cherry on top!

And a beautiful cherry on top it was, one we couldn’t have hoped for: about 204,000 euros!

Also our 2 ambassadors of Levensloop Kortrijk saw it was great (below)!

It was clear that our participants and survivors appreciated the event, and we received many heartwarming messages during the event!

 

That evening I was able to have a relaxing dinner with my family, who not only experienced everything with me but also helped in the organization.

Of course the subject was our Relay For Life: looking back happily, but also carefully looking ahead. Not questioning if there’s going to be a third year for this event, because the engagement was there with Stichting Tegen Kanker… but who would take over the chairmanship in 2016, which committee members would help make the third event even better than the previous two years, and which role we would take upon ourselves.

But first there’s a lot of work left to be done to finish this year’s event: the logistics subcommittee coordinates the destruction/cleaning, the strong duo of the accountant committee is finalizing the numbers, we hand out the raffle prizes to the winners and together with Jurgen and Brecht I’m preparing the evaluation of this edition… which takes us back to the beginning of this blog update.