SURVIVORS, carers and friends put their lives on hold on Saturday to walk and remember those who had been touched by cancer at Tamworth’s Carter St baseball fields.
The official Relay for Life T-shirts turned the fields into a sea of purple as more than 2000 participants took on the annual Cancer Council 24-hour walking challenge fundraiser.
Cancer Council NSW North West community relations co-ordinator Jane Sweeney said there was a “great atmosphere,” and hoped the money raised would hit the $100,000 mark after the final tally.
This year, participants had live music and movies on the big screen when they weren’t circling the field, encouraging an almost carnival atmosphere for the event.
Performers including Ashleigh Dallas, Buddy and Goori Knox provided a musical backdrop for walkers, and along with raffles, barbecues and even a massage for those tired walkers, there was plenty to entertain.
Mrs Sweeney said it was great to see a younger crowd this year, saying the future of the event relied upon community participation.
“Although it’s an inspirational event for everyone, it’s really for the carers and the survivors out there,” Mrs Sweeney said.
With the event kicking-off at 10am on Saturday, teams took to the field to begin their 24 hours of walking, some choosing to walk the whole way, some choosing to have a catnap in their tents while other team members took up the cause.
Some even swapped their exercise attire for a wedding dress and tux, Annette Maher and Tony Winter devoting the morning of their wedding day to walking the relay.
Beginning their walk as partners in the morning, they became husband and wife at 5pm on Saturday evening, getting married at Tamworth’s Uniting Church.
Annette, 67, had a lump removed from her breast last year, undergoing radiotherapy for months afterwards, and said she wanted to give thanks for her survival.
Tony said although they only walked one lap, it was symbolic of Annette’s recovery, and said the rest of the day was spent “getting busy getting married.”
A candlelight ceremony was held at 8pm, with friends and family lighting candles and dedicating messages of hope in memory of those they had lost.
Mrs Sweeney said events like the Relay for Life were crucial to fundraising efforts for the Cancer Council.
“One in three people will be affected by the disease in their lives,” Mrs Sweeney said.
“People will continue to get cancer but an event like this reminds people to get to the doctor and have that check-up.”