The annual luminary ceremony honouring cancer survivors, those still battling, and loved ones who have passed will take place this year on Tuesday, Aug. 14.
The ceremony will commence with a parade starting at the post office at 8:15 p.m., ending at Scott's Cove Park.
Like last year’s ceremony, white bags containing a burning candle of remembrance will adorn the stage. The candles are purchased by family and friends, and survivors from all of the southwest coast communities from South Branch to Rose Blanche, will show their support. There will also be a special dedication in memory of the late Marilyn Kettle who volunteered as a committee member for Relay for Life.
Born in Rose Blanche, Marilyn’s family moved to Port aux Basques when she was still a child, and it was here she and husband Cyril raised their own family. In 2006 she first joined the Relay For Life committee, and continued to volunteer when the family relocated for a few years out west.
Upon returning to Port aux Basques, Marilyn once again joined the local committee where she would serve for the next seven years. She was a member of Team Bosom Buddies for the Port aux Basques relay. She was also a member of a breast cancer support group.
When she wasn’t fundraising or helping fellow cancer patients, Marilyn retired to the home she and her husband had built on MacDougalls beach. She was also an active member of the Gateway Seniors 50 Plus Club.
“She dearly loved our outings in MacDougalls,” remembers friend and fellow Relay For Life committee member Dorothy Bragg. “Lobster boil, jiggs dinner days and fish and turkey cookouts. Thursdays was her day to go out for supper with the MacDougalls Beach ladies.”
Marilyn waged her own hard-fought battle with cancer for 17 years, but was determined to serve with the committee until the end.
Prior to last year’s luminary service, Marilyn’s arm had to be amputated, and she was subsequently weakened by medication and treatment. Bragg told Marilyn that the committee could handle the ceremony without her.
“She would reply, ‘No. I will do it.’ And she did,” recalls Bragg with pride and admiration for her friend. “She got to our parade in a wheelchair. She did the opening prayer and she stood and read the list of names of cancer survivors.”
Marilyn Kettle lost her battle on Dec. 27, 2017. On Tuesday evening, she too will be remembered.
- With files from Dorothy Bragg