Jen Dalton has been a Relay for Life participant for years and is hooked for life since a new breakthrough in cancer research has prolonged her father’s life.

Jen Dalton has been a Relay for Life participant for years and is hooked for life since a new breakthrough in cancer research has prolonged her father’s life.

Father’s battle with cancer drives daughter’s relay effort

West Shore Relay for Life seeks early bird entries

The Relay for Life isn’t until June, but the Canadian Cancer Society is encouraging teams to sign up early for the annual event held at Langford’s City Centre Park.

Until March 1, the registration fee will be cut in half to $10 per person, and all participants will be entered in a draw for an iPad Air. So far five teams have made the commitment.

“The earlier you register, the easier it is to fundraise and meet your goal,” said Monica Dhawan, Vancouver Island Relay for Life co-ordinator. “We can help offer you as much support as you need.”

Last year, 27 teams participating in the West Shore event, where teammates took turns walking the field at City Centre Park from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The event raised $67,000 and this year the goal is set at $75,000.

Of those participants was Jen Dalton who has been an active fundraiser for the Relay for Life in Langford.

Prior to participating in Greater Victoria, Dalton and her family participated in the Relay for Life in Kamloops for two years, driven by her father’s struggle with cancer.

In 2002 her father, Murray Finlay, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“He didn’t smoke, he didn’t drink, he ate healthy, he was the picture of health or so it seemed,” Dalton said. “He had two types of cancer, fast and slow growing. His body was riddled with it.”

From 2002 to 2010 Finlay underwent treatment constantly. “He got to he point where he couldn’t take it anymore, and as a real daddy’s girl it was hard to hear,” she said.

Her father agreed to try one more treatment, radioimmunotherapy, a therapy using radioactive antibodies to target cancer cells. Four years later, his cancer has not grown at all.

“Before he had it the radioimmunotherapy had only been done 90 times at the Vancouver Cancer Agency,” Dalton said. “I started (participating in) Relay for Life because I felt so helpless with my dad’s illness.”

Dalton likes to think money she helped raise through Relay for Life may have helped fund research for radioimmunotherapy or other cancer fighting techniques that have prolonged the lives of others. In all, she has raised more than $31,000.

“My dad is living proof of the advancements in cancer and that we are truly making a difference,” Dalton said. “I can’t stop relaying now.”

The Victoria Westshore Relay for Life is at City Centre Park, 1097 Langford Pkwy., on June 14 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

For more information see relayforlife.ca/victoria. To volunteer, call Dhawan at 250-380-2358.

charla@goldstreamgazette.com