By Rowan Forster
The upcoming Cardinia Relay for Life is set to be one of the biggest yet, with a whopping $78,000 already raised for vital cancer research, prevention and support services.
So far, 34 teams and 447 participants have enlisted to partake in this weekend’s event – marking a bumper year for the Cancer Council Australia.
Relay provides an opportunity for the Pakenham community to recognise and celebrate local cancer survivors, patients, their carers and families.
It also serves as a day to honour and remember the loved ones who lost their battles.
Leading the charge is Kerry Holland, who has single-handedly raised more than $2600 for this year’s event.
“Originally I relayed because I wanted to make a difference in the fight against cancer, since it affects so many of us in one way or the other,” she said.“Now, I relay after having gone through – and still going through – my own battle with leukaemia.
“I’ve seen first-hand the incredible support services and nursing care that cancer patients have and need, but mostly I want to see research find a cure for this crappy disease as soon as possible.”
Her team, Where’s Wally Walkers, has raised more than $13,000 for this year’s event.
In the past, Relay for Life events in Cardinia Shire have raised more than $544,000.
Across the municipality, an average of 476 people are diagnosed with cancer every year.
The overnight experience kicks off at 5.45pm on Friday 22 February with an opening ceremony, followed by a candlelight ceremony at 8.30pm.
While an entire team doesn’t have to walk the track for the entire night, participants are encouraged to have at least one member completing the course at all times – continuously racking up the total of laps.
It will conclude with a closing ceremony at midday on Saturday 23 February.
The event takes place at the Toomuc Recreation Reserve.
Those who are interested in participating can register on the Cancer Council’s website.