By Garry Howe
While hundreds of people took turns at circling Toomuc Reserve in Pakenham last Friday and Saturday in the quest to beat cancer, they marveled at the exploits of a young Chairo College student running beside them.
Danyal Diallo has a pronounced limp, due to a hip displacement problem diagnosed 12 years ago. Yet he still took on the 18-hour Cardinia Relay For Life challenge and actually ran most of the way, more than 100 laps all up.
That effort won for Danyal the prestigious Spirit of Relay Award.
Participants are asked to nominate the person or team they believe most typifies the spirit of the event and Danyal received several nominations.
He was there with schoolmates Amy Geyer, Emily Bloxidge, Grace Van Rossen, Tayla Williams, Daniel Ward and Daniel Mendoza. All up, the team did well over 500 laps.
Amy got the Wii Not Fit team together in honour of her father Trevor, who has been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour.
Cardinia Relay For Life chairman Mark Howard said the event was again a great success.
He said the committee had banked $95,000 in proceeds and teams still had another month to finalise their fundraising, so that figure could well increase.
“We are in our sixth year and I believe the event is getting stronger and stronger,” Mr Howard said.
“We have a lot of teams who repeat but it was good to see some new ones this year. One team raised a little over $15,000 themselves, which was a great effort.”
That was the Ford Fairlane and Classic Cruiser Motor Mouths.
Team liaison officer for the event, Di Price, said she could not be happier with the way the event played out.
“I grew up in Pakenham and this event has that real community feel I remember as a kid,” she said. “There are no strangers in the relay – there’s always someone to talk to on the track.
“There are a lot of good people out there – battling gale force winds at one stage – and they are doing it for the right reason.”
Awards went to: Highest Fundraising Team – Ford Fairlane and Classic Cruiser Motor Mouths; Most Laps – Beacon of Hope (Beaconhills) 510 laps; Best Team Site – Best Foot Forward; Best Baton – Cancer Beating Fairies; Activities for Life Shield Beacon of Hope; Spirit of Relay – Danyal Diallo.