Skip to content

Korah ‘cultural event of the year’ ready to tackle cancer

‘You don’t realize how many people you know who have gone through cancer,’ says longtime Relay for Life volunteer Cosimo Martella

The calendar month has flipped over to June, which means students and staff at Korah Collegiate are in the final swing of preparations for their 11th in-person edition of Relay for Life.

From 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. next Thursday, 32 teams made up of approximately 300 participants will each raise at least $100 and walk around the school’s track in honour of those who have suffered or lost their battle to cancer.

More than 25 student volunteers and 30 school staff members have been holding fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society ahead of the big day.

Among those money-makers included a car wash at Great Lakes Honda on Saturday.

Offering his assistance for another year of cancer awareness is longtime Relay for Life volunteer Cosimo Martella – a retired Korah teacher who comes back every year to provide support.

“My wife is a cancer survivor, so it’s always been personal for me,” he says. “I couldn’t get involved in the first couple years because she was going through treatment. But it’s been 10+ years since she’s been free of cancer-free which is great.”

“When you’re blessed to be able to retire and still have your health, you should be giving back.”

Korah was introduced to Relay for Life in 2011 when senior student Taylor Fryia got the school involved with their very first event.

“The first year or two was difficult to get going,” Martella says. “We raised about $5,000 to $8,000 in the first couple years.”

But in 2013, Relay gained momentum when Korah student Courtney Eakett got involved and became the face of the event as she persevered through a challenging cancer diagnosis.

Despite her inspiring battle, Eakett later passed away that year at the age of 17.

But according to Martella, the legacy she left behind inside the walls of Korah is still palpable today.

“We kept Relay going in her honour,” he says. “She was very special to us.”

Since Eakett’s passing, the event has seen thousands of students and dozens of cancer patients and survivors participate, with funds raised for the Canadian Cancer Society surpassing well over $200,000.

“It’s the school’s cultural event of the year – it’s what Korah’s about,” Martella says. “You’re not going to remember Grade 9 math or Grade 11 science, but I bet you’ll remember the night you spent at Relay.”

Thursday’s event will begin with an emotional survivors’ victory lap and luminary ceremony in honour of those who have battled cancer.

Throughout the evening, students will enjoy a variety of activities like live music, sports events, and contests.  

Like last year, Korah’s goal is to raise more than $50,000.

“You don’t realize how many people you know who have gone through cancer,” Martella says. “This event is all for research and development, and that’s why we have people staying alive after they have been diagnosed – that’s why we do it.”


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Alex Flood

About the Author: Alex Flood

Alex is a recent graduate from the College of Sports Media where he discovered his passion for reporting and broadcasting
Read more