RELAY A TIME TO REFLECT
THE glow of lanterns lit up the dark during the Relay for Life candlelight ceremony in Roma on Saturday, in a visually spectacular display of solidarity.
LIKE clockwork, Saturday’s stormy skies cleared just in time to welcome a number of beachy guests to Cities’ Oval, preparing to walk through the night for a worthy cause.
The annual Relay for Life is a fundraising event where team members take turns walking around a track for an 18-hour period.
Each team is required to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps.
Teams came dressed for the beach theme, and set up a number of camps around the oval in preparation for the evening.
The Lions and Rotary club members served delicious hot food to participants.
The event began with a survivor and carers walk, celebrating those that had overcome adversity.
As the sun set on what had been a glorious day, the participants gathered for the candlelight ceremony, to honour those who had lost their lives and others who were still battling the disease.
Families and friends shared matches to light their hope lanterns, inscribed with the names of loved ones who had battled cancer, in a symbolic display of uniting to conquer the dark.
During the ceremony, a number of participants spoke on how the disease had shaped their lives, with Roma’s face of Relay for Life Marguerite Cuddihy, speaking on how hope lit up the darkest of days.
“My brush with cancer woke me up. Before I believed I was average and that only average things could happen to me,’ Ms Cuddihy said.
“But a diagnosis of that deadly disease offered me an invitation to experience an aliveness so profound and sobering, it filled my heart with gratitude for the invaluable gift of being shaken into living.
“When I am feeling dreary, annoyed or generally unimpressed by life, I remind myself that as long as I am living, I should feel fantastically alive,” Ms Cuddihy said.
“Hope is the belief that a positive outcome lies ahead. Hope teaches us not to break like china plates, but to break like waves instead.
“There is no medicine like the power of hope and the comfort of solidarity. While we are being tossed around in an ocean of grief, we must anchor our shipwrecked hearts to hope.
“Thoughts are sometimes frantic, sometimes uneventful, sometimes dark, sometimes positive, often messy, but they must always be infused with a sense of hope and with the courage to simply show up for life with its unforgiving curve balls. We should never lose hope. When the sun sets and the stars come out, we light our candles, our beacons of hope.”
Participants then did a lap of honour with their loved ones’ lanterns in hand.
So far the Roma event has raised $18,718 for Cancer Council research, prevention and information services, to help support the 134,000 Australians diagnoses with cancer each year.
IGNITING HOPE: Caide Kranenburg peers inside a hope lantern during the candlelight ceremony at the 2017 Roma Relay for Life.
CELEBRATING IN STYLE: Team Jen Celebration in their beach themed outfits at the start of the Relay for Life on Saturday.