This weekend’s annual Relay For Life marked the 11th year the Cancer Council’s fundraising event has been held on the Sunshine Coast.
The Sunshine Coast Stadium hosted about 500 participants from local schools, businesses and community groups who dressed up as their favourite movie characters for this year’s theme Lights, Camera, Cure!
The overnight relay is held around the state and raises much needed funds for Cancer Council Queensland’s cancer research, education programs and patient support services.
The Sunshine Coast event had already hit its fundraising target of $65,500 before the event had started, and more donations were received over the weekend.
Annelize Van Niekerk, the Cancer Council’s event coordinator, reiterated how important these major fundraising events were.
“Focusing efforts on fundraising is the most positive contribution we can make to help find a cure. Every dollar raised is taking us closer to the aim of a cancer free world for future generations,” she said.
Van Niekerk also discussed the push for younger generations to get involved to ensure the Relay For Life continues for further years.
“It’s important for young people to learn that life is more than themselves, to learn to give back,” she said.
“You can have a night out with your friends – these overnight events are a safe environment and they always have a theme, so you can tap into that and have fun.”
Sue-Ellen Calabrese regularly participates in Relay For Life with her co-workers, the Caloundra Priceline Princesses, and her children.
Calabrese echoed Van Niekerk’s sentiments about the importance of getting younger community members involved in the event, saying “they can learn there are bigger things out there than themselves”.
“Participating in this kind of thing really does get them to see what other things are happening in the world from a young age, it makes it really special for them to be a part of it,” Calabrese said.
Every year the event respects cancer survivors and carers with the first lap of honour and holds an evening candlelight ceremony to remember those who have lost their battle.
Food trucks, coffee and beverages were on site to help participants keep up their energy for the long night of walking.
The event also included fun and games throughout the evening such as laser-tag, dance classes and musical performances.
Relay For Life’s closing ceremony was held at 8am Sunday morning where tired, yet gratified, participants celebrated their hard work and fundraising achievements.