MORE than 1500 walkers and runners spent 24 hours in Tamworth raising more than $90,000 to fight back against cancer at the weekend.
The annual Relay for Life Cancer Council of NSW fundraiser celebrated healthy lives to reduce the incidence of cancer in the community.
Cancer Council of NSW North West community engagement manager Sue-Ellen Hogan said they were pleased with the numbers of relayers who gave up their weekend for this important event.
Ms Hogan said Relay for Life meant different things to different people.
“I think the reasons vary for everyone- they have that personal link, their own cancer story or the cancer story of a loved one, they want to look at prevention methods and want to help us raise money for cancer research,” she said.
Organisers are now looking forward to 2014.
“The organising committee was just amazing from start to finish,” she said.
“They all put in so much work, even though most work full-time. We couldn’t do without the volunteers.”
About 100 teams have raised about $91,000 so far, with the event’s target of $100,000 expected To be reached in coming weeks.
“Once the money is all banked and everyone wraps up their fundraising we’ll meet that target,” Ms Hogan said.
One of the many highlights was the candlelight ceremony of hope where people reflect on those they’ve loved and lost to cancer.
“It was a really beautiful ceremony with a lone piper and a tribute DVD of loved ones we’ve lost,” Ms Hogan said.
“It’s a really personal time for relayers and quite moving.”
Other special items during the event included the range of local entertainers who have freely of their time to keep everyone amused while they walked and ran their way around the 400 metre track.
As well as spreading important health messages about avoiding cancer and raising money for research, relay is also about having fun.
There was plenty to be had with a celebrity lawn mower race won by Country Music Queen Sophie Dewhurst and an emergency services race won by Fire and Rescue NSW.
The fun hit a whole new level on Saturday night as the Miss Relay contestants took to the track to raise money.
“Some, surprisingly, were men who walk well in heels,” Ms Hogan said.
Mini boot camp was also well-received by those who wanted more than just walking.
One of the event’s legends was Warren Wright who completed 800 laps by walking and running for 40 hours, starting 16 hours before the official relay start.
“Warren did his 800th lap just before our closing ceremony,” Ms Hogan said.
“He looked pretty worn out. We all cheered him on and we’re so proud of him.”