Relay for Life 2019: a stepping stone to a cancer free future
Relay for Life is an emotional 24hr event where participants rally together to fight a common enemy, cancer. Organised by Cancer Council ACT, the event ran from 11am 23 March – 11am 24 March 2019.
Teams walked the AIS running track with the goal of at least one person per team been on the track at all times to raise funds vital to cancer prevention, research and support services to the local and surrounding community. The event didn’t discriminate and everyone, young and old, small and big, were welcome.
This years Relay for Life was particularly special because it was Canberra’s 20th year of competing in the event. With a record breaking number of teams involved, the event went off without a hitch and was incredibly successful, exceeding its fundraising target of $310,000.
The event began with the carers and survivors lap, with a marching band, The Queanbeyan Pipes and Drums, honouring those who have passed away from cancer, those who still battle cancer and the carers of people afflicted by the disease.
This event was a beautiful display of what the Canberra community is capable of. Coming together, and forgetting our differences to fight for a cause close to many of our hearts. Many of the teams took the relay to the next level and decorated their tents in creative ways to honour loved ones affected by cancer.
Belinda Barnier, the Executive Manager of Community Support and Engagement at Cancer Council ACT says that ” this year we made an effort to get back to basics and communicate one on one with our Relay for Life teams from past years to see what they wanted”
Cancer Council ACT did not disappoint and there was plenty of entertainment to be had at the event, along with a variety of food tents and fun activities for the kids!
The Canberra Prosperous Mountain Dragon and Lion Dance group performed at the event, and fascinated many of the crowd with their intricate cultural dance. Sporting the Relay for Life gear the group honoured the event with their great performance and added to the appeal of the event.
The belly dancers then made an appearance, waltzing around the track and showing off their amazing moves.
At 9pm the relayers gathered at the centre stage where a speech was made by a priest acknowledging the hardships faced by cancer survivors and the fallen alike.
A young boy was interviewed on stage and spoke about his own personal experience, drawing tears from the many gathered. This was followed by a minute of silence to remember all those who have suffered from cancer and to commend those who are still fighting it.
The marching band once again made an appearance and two melancholic songs were sung before everyone’s candle bags were lit, in the Candlelight Ceremony, lighting up the entire AIS track in a beautiful act of comradeship.
The following day, as the relay drew to an end, their was a BBQ to reward all the relayers for their hard work. Slapping each other on the back, the relay teams eventually dispersed at the end of another successful Relay for Life year, with hope fresh in their minds, that we will someday reach a cancer free future.