Lighting up the Prince George night
Normally, at 11:30 p.m., I’m snuggled in my bed.
On Saturday, however, at 11:30 p.m. I was at Masich Place Stadium along with a lot of other people.
The Luminary Ceremony for the 2012 Relay for Life was scheduled to start, as usual, at midnight, and there was quite a crowd.
This was the first time I had attended the Luminary Ceremony in the three or four years I’ve covered the Relay for Life, the Canadian Cancer Society’s largest local fundraiser.
I mentioned to a couple of people my surprise at how many people were there, and they expressed surprise at my surprise.
“A lot of people schedule their walking shift for now so they can take part in the Luminary,” one person said. “A lot of people from my team aren’t walking, but we’re here for the ceremony.”
As the relayers continued to walk along the track, volunteers moved along, lighting the candles inside the paper bags lining the inside of the track. Some of the bags were blank, but most carried a message.
Some of the messages spoke of love for someone who had lost their battle with cancer, others of someone who was continuing to carry on the struggle.
Shortly before midnight, an announcement was made that anyone who wanted to get a candle could do so from the large tables in the middle of the infield.
More volunteers were standing by with lighters to ignite the candles in these containers.
And then the people gathered near the stage.
And the track lights went out.
Two small sets of lights illuminated the speakers on the stage as they spoke of the meaning of the Luminary Ceremony.
The speeches were short. Everyone present knew why they were there.
And then the speeches were over, and the walkers moved back out onto the track, holding their candles.
And the Relay for Life continued, with the only light being from the Luminaries, either in the bags or in the hands of the walkers.
I looked up at one point, and marvelled at how clearly you could see the stars in the sky, with no man-made lights to dim them.
Then I looked again at the walkers, and realized all the stars weren’t in the sky.