Bermuda Relay raises a staggering $450,000 in their first year

In 2008 Ron Spencer lost his mother to cancer – the first time he had ever been affected by the illness. It left him shocked, but it put in motion a train of events that was to lead to the raising of almost $500,000 to support those affected by cancer. After his mother's death, Mr Spencer, Business Developer & Account Manager at Colonial Group International, started spending time helping at Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre and decided then to do something to raise money for those affected by cancer. "Every cancer event seemed geared towards breast cancer. My sisters had done Relay For Life so I started to research it. It was for all types of cancers and it celebrated people that had been lost and people who had fought back," said Mr. Spencer. Mr Spencer added: "Bermuda is like a community. I knew we had to have a Relay For Life here. I spent a few months trying to track something down in the American Cancer Society and found Global Relay For Life. "I found out we had to be approved as a country and it had to be through a cancer association. Bermuda Cancer and Health said they would support us if we could bring it here and make it happen." It took almost five years to get it going, but the first of what will be an annual event took place at the National Stadium on May 29 and 30, 2014, involving 123 teams and about 2,500 people. The event was an organized, overnight community fundraising walk, teams of people camped out around the track, team members took turns walking around the track, there was food, games and activities for entertainment and to build camaraderie. It has so far raised a staggering $450,000. "It was like a 24 hour fair, there was a celebratory mood. There was a purple couch where we had people tell their stories. People were very willing to share stories with their friends and people they had not seen for years. "We did a survivors' lap. I was blown away by how many people came forward who had or have cancer. They did the first lap and that lap alone opened up people's eyes. People did not know that some people were battling cancer," added Mr Spencer. The proceeds raised in Bermuda will go toward the Mission for Relay For Life of Bermuda, which is to raise awareness and funds to support cancer prevention, detection and treatment in the fight against cancer. Mr. Spencer added: "There are too many times when Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre receive telephone calls from someone who has cancer but cannot afford the treatment. Relay funds will go towards locals who cannot get the support they need."

The 2015 Relay For Life of Bermuda event will again be held at the National Sport Centre's North Field and will be held May 29-30. (Photo attached of Founder and Event Co-Chair of Relay For Life of Bermuda, Ron Spencer III)

Contributors: Ron Spencer III - Originally posted in "Good News" a quarterly production of the Bermuda Centre on Philanthropy generously sponsored by Colonial & The Royal Gazette.