The only person who will be absent from Roop Lalli’s 23rd birthday party this year will be the birthday girl herself, but that’s not stopping her friends and family from celebrating.

Roop died of a rare form of lung cancer last summer. On May 3 — the day before her birthday — a carnival will be held to celebrate her life and raise money for the disease that killed her.

Neetu Lalli, Roop’s sister, said Roop created a Relay For Life team after being diagnosed with cancer. In four years they raised more than $50,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“This is our first year without Roop as our team captain,” said Neetu. “We wanted to continue her legacy … (and) do something really spectacular this year, and came up with the Carnival For Life.”

Vendors and entertainers are donating their time, games and food to the carnival, which will be held at Garden City Park in Richmond.

Admission will be free and proceeds from tickets for rides, games and refreshments will go to the Canadian Cancer Society.

“(Roop) was a goofy, outgoing, fun person, so this seemed something (she would have loved),” said Neetu, who added that organizing the event has been an important part of the healing process.

“Roop had a lot of family support — people to drive her to appointments and stay with her in the hospital. But we’ve met a lot of people who didn’t have that support … (and that’s what this is for),” Neetu said. “This is to celebrate all the survivors, and celebrate the memories of all those who have passed away.”

Annual tribute
• Roop Lalli’s friends and family hope to make the Carnival For Life an annual event. For more information visit