Months of preparation lead to an emotional, but successful day for Southridge School Grade 12 student Justin Sanghe.
Sanghe, with help of a committee of Southridge students, started planning for the Southridge Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life’s second annual event last October.
Last Friday, Sanghe felt the impact of the event as he waited at the finish line of the relay’s survivors’ lap; his mother was one of the first to cross the line.
Mother and son shared a hug, before Sanghe removed himself from the crowd to lift his sunglasses and wipe away a tear.
“Just… like the amount we raised and on top of seeing it, and my mom comes through. Just remembering what she went through and everything,” Sanghe said of his emotions following the survivors’ lap.
Sanghe’s mother, Satinder Sanghe, beat breast cancer five years ago.
It’s the second year Sanghe organized a Relay for Life at his independent school. Last year, the event raised $57,000. As of Peace Arch News press deadline Tuesday morning, the 2017 event had raised more than $100,000.
“It’s honestly just shocking. I’m still in shock. The fact that on Monday we were at $16,000 and now we’re at $89,000 is just unreal,” Sanghe said Friday afternoon. “The amount of kids we’re going to help with this, it’s just shocking. I don’t even know how to describe it.”
Money collected through the event is dedicated to pediatric care research.
Satinder remembers when her son found inspiration to host the event at his school.
“He participated in the relay at St. George’s School when he was in Grade 10,” Satinder said. “Their relay was overnight. I still remember picking him up in the morning – he hadn’t slept all night – and he did not stop talking about it for one minute all the way from Vancouver to our home in Langley.”
Before the kickoff of the Southridge Relay for Life, Sanghe did a ceremonial passing of the baton to his brother, Jaden, who is now responsible for the Southridge event.
Sanghe will study science at UBC next year, and he hopes to co-ordinate a Relay for Life on the school’s campus.
CCS co-ordinator of annual giving Nicola Romaniuk said the success of the Southridge event is “beyond belief.”
Romaniuk called PAN Monday and wanted to thank Sanghe, the students, school, staff, donors and community partners for making the event a success.