Relay for Life, Alert

As most of you know my name is Kristy Doyle. I am a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and I am currently stationed at CFS (Canadian Forces Station) Alert in Alert, Nunavut. CFS Alert is located on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island and is the most northern permanently inhabited station in the entire world located at 82°28’N 62°30’W.

Throughout my childhood years I was influenced by the military in many ways, particularly because my father and my grandfather were serving and retired members of the RCAF. I was able to see the majority of Canada while I growing up and was inspired by the pair to join myself in 2009.

In early 2010 my grandfather, Ernie Spencer, was diagnosed with colon cancer. My grandfather was the first person in my inner circle to be effected by cancer but one of many in my extended family. Regretfully, in early August of 2010, while I was enrolled in the Canadian Forces School of Meteorology, my grandfather passed away.

The Canadian Cancer Society and the Relay for Life events have been close to my families hearts for many years. My grandfather, while living in British Colombia, volunteered to be a driver for patients between treatments and home and as a family we would participate in Relay for Life events together. It was his generous and kind heart that lead me to the Canadian Cancer Society and he was truly my role model.

In 2011 as the Relay for Life events drew closer and closer, I realized I would not be emotionally ready to participate at that time. When the event came and passed in my community, I was disappointed in myself for not participating in the ceremony, as I know that is what he would have wanted me to do. On that day I promised myself I would participate the following year.

In December of 2011 I was deployed to CFS Alert. As the winter months rolled into Spring I was wondering when we would participate in Relay for Life, an event the military is highly supportive of and involved with. To my surprise there was nothing in the works to happen. I spoke with my chain of command and requested that I initiate the Relay for Life in Alert, which is a lodger unit of CFB Trenton and have our relay be listed as a partner with them. With help from the Ontario coordinator Becky Mitts, I was able to begin to plan and prepare for the worlds most northerly Relay for Life.

When I began “Team Alert” I had the option to select what our team would consist of; family, friends, coworkers or other. I pondered at this for a moment because in Alert, with an average population of about 70 personnel, it seemed all would and does apply here. A very enthusiastic team, we began fundraising with little expectation and within the first week of setting up our online donation website, we surpassed the initial goal of $1200. Since that week we have had to raise our goal four times… and counting!

Relay for Life to me, is more than just a fundraiser. It shows a definite link in humanity when optimistic people unite together to reach a common goal. At CFS Alert, in complete isolation, we have made a connection through this campaign, whose ripples have reached much further shores than I could have ever imagined. With this being the first relay in Nunavut, I have spoke with others living in larger communities who are interested in participating for next year. Again, this shows the connection that cancer has on humans, connecting even those from the most isolated communities in our vast country.

Our Relay for Life will be held on the 19th of May into the 20th and we will be doing laps outside in the chilly air of the Canadian Arctic. I am so grateful to everyone who has supported me in initiating this event as well as those participating and hope that its effects continue to linger in Alert and it becomes a tradition. I know my grandfather would be so excited about this event and so for me; it has been a way to connect us together once again. 
If you still wish to pledge on my behalf you can do so: HERE!


  1. Kristy, I would be a much greater person if I could live half as hard as you do.

  2. I've lost both of my grandmothers and other grandad because of different types of cancer. First granny I actually never got to meet (passed away 3 years before I was born) but the other two, my dad's parents, I was old enough to remember both (15 when granny's body gave up and just 2 years ago I sat by my grandad's bed) I just wanted to let you know, that I might have a clue of what you've gone through.. I know I wouldn't have been able to participate in any event like that so soon, it's really nice that you're this highly involved now. And I couldn't be more proud of you. :) Love, Satu

  3. Tears of joy, sadness and pride are falling from my eyes. I am so glad that my dad got to know and love both you and Emily. You guys are what made him live as long as he did in the end. Love Mom xoxoxoxoxooxoxoxo

  4. Hey Kristy, sorry that I couldn't say good-by before we left Alert yesterday (05/22/2012). Thanks for the very nice card :-) It was very very nice meeting you. All the best for the rest of the tour in Alert. What I getter from some of the comments on you blog, is that you are indeed an incredible person and I'm glad I was able to experience that myself. I wish you and the rest of the world that you'll never lose your intriguing smile and the spark in your eyes.

    By the way, we are stuck here in Kangerlussuaq/Greenland for a few days before we can go back to New York. The weather is pretty bad and it's actually raining - non-frozen water yeah.

    Check out our blog: http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/tag/arctic-switchyard/

    Ronny Friedrich of the Switchyard Research Team


Any and all words, options, well-wishes, ill-wishes, love, hate accepted. Any feedback is appreciated :)