Brandon’s annual Relay for Life event is a fantastic fundraiser that has drawn more than $93,000 for cancer research this year — and counting.
Every year, teams of 10 to 15 people raise cash individually, and then spend 12 hours as a team taking turns walking laps on a track all night. For participants, the relay is profoundly inspirational, and provides a means for people to support cancer survivors, loved ones who are undergoing cancer treatment, and those friends and family members who have succumbed to the disease.
It’s little wonder then that Relay For Life team members can be quite outspoken in support of the event — sometimes to the point of being blindly so.
Last weekend’s Relay For Life event at the Sportsplex drew some unexpected criticism from area residents who were rather unhappy with the decibel level of the sound system.
One participant, who asked to remain anonymous, said the music at the relay was “extremely loud.”
Although there was only one official complaint made to Brandon police about the noisy late night music coming from the Sportsplex track, there were plenty of public comments made criticizing the event — enough to spark a defensive letter to the editor from a team member, Lesli Meek, which we printed on Wednesday.
“I am proud to say that I participate in the Relay for Life because at least it is a small step to help find a cure for this disease rather than just sitting back and complaining after watching more than one person close to me suffer,” Meek wrote.
“It is only eight hours of your life and I am sure there are thousands of people affected by cancer that would trade spots with you in a heartbeat!”
Jason Permanand, a communications officer with the Canadian Cancer Society, was a little more nuanced in responding to the criticism.
“This is the first experience with the new site and we apologize if we bothered anyone,” Permanand said, indicating steps would be taken to prevent any future disturbances. “Our goal is to bring people together, not upset them.”
In the grand scheme of things, Meek is right — it’s just one night out of the year, and we would hope area residents would accommodate such a worthy event. But other events in the city, such as the Brandon Folk, Music and Art Festival, have time limits when it comes to how far into the evening the music can go.
We assume organizers will simply tone down the music — not their enthusiasm — as a way to respect the neighbourhood.