Throughout the years, Ellis has seen several friends and contemporaries named as Honorary Chairs, but never thought one day she'd join them on that list.
Founder and the executive director of Bhutan Cancer Society, Dechen Wangmo, said the majority of the cancer cases were diagnosed either in the third or fourth stage. Lung, liver, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers are also common.
Wellington has worked in health promotion at Lambton Public Health since 2006, and for the YMCA for 25 years before that. The fight against cancer must be a collective community effort.
"I think it is very, very good we have this local Relay for Life here at TISS".
She saw a doctor right away "and, we started the one-year path of hell".
"She came home to from London to live with me and my children in December 2015 and after various hard rounds of aggressive treatment and complications she died in September 2017 when my children were just 8 and 12".
According to tradition, radiation patients bang a gong when they finish treatments.
"And, I hit it hard", Wellington said. The community is invited to attend the free event and help celebrate and honor local cancer survivors and remember those lost.
"This is a year-long endeavor at APEX Analytix", said Susan Edmondson, Statement Analyst at APEX Analytix, and chairperson of the company's Relay for Life event. "And a lot of students came up to me after and said they appreciated it". "It has an impact on treatment outcome", she said".
"I now know, when I feel I need to do something, I act on it because it makes such a difference".
"Don't take it lightly".
The event started like most Relay for Life editions do, by having survivors share their stories and then having them lead the rest of the walkers in a survivors' lap. After the survivors' lap, the 12-hour relay begins for the teams. Betler said the American Cancer Society would unexpectedly send her giftcards for gas that always seemed to arrive during the most hard times.
"We all know somebody who has been affected by cancer, and it's this massive community hug".
After the opening ceremony, cancer survivors and their caregivers will take the first lap around the track.
"We're pushing for number one, but we'll get there", Betler said. This year, luminaries are taking the form of 8-by-11-inch pieces of paper with the word HOPE, although the traditional bags are still available as well.
"It's been bigger and better than I expected for the first year".