WHITSUNDAY RELAYS FOR LIFE
The 2016 Relay for Life unites Prossie and the beach in a stand against the ‘Big C’
There have been more teams, an extreme amount of money has been raised. — Wendy Barker
Peter Carruthers Peter.Carruthers@apn.com.au IT’S official: The 2016 Whitsunday Relay for Life has raised $46,760.65.
Twenty-eight teams, made up of more than 300 people, spent 18 hours walking a circuit at the Proserpine Showground over the weekend to beat a disease that touches the lives of so many people in the Queensland community.
One person is diagnosed with cancer every 20 minutes in Queensland.
Co-event co-ordinator Leonie Arthur said, after the event was nearly cancelled last year due to lack of support, this year’s interest had gone beyond the committee’s expectations.
“This year everyone has been more engaged. The committee has been more focused and more grounded and has worked together as a unit,” she said.
Though the event strives to deal a knock-out blow to a disease that can strike anyone at any time, Ms Arthur said it also brought the community together.
“It’s breaking down the barrier between Prossie and the beach. You look at the teams here, 50% of them are from Cannonvale and Airlie Beach and a lot of the donations have come from businesses run from the beach. And Prossie has been very well represented here. I think that is brilliant and one thing we need to look at as a region,” she said.
“Breaking down that wall and coming together as the Whitsundays and the wonderful community we do have.”
Ms Arthur lost her mother to cancer and has been one the event coordinators for the last two years.
At 2pm on Saturday she was there when the relay got under way, opened by cancer survivors and their carers doing a solo lap of the arena before the teams began their marathon, all-night effort.
At 7pm as night fell a candle-light tribute was held for those who lost their battle with the disease and participants wrote messages to loved ones on paper bags and placed a candle inside.
The little lanterns of hope were placed around the perimeter of the walking track and the lights were dimmed in tribute.
Eighty four-year-old June Hinschen a cancer survivor from Proserpine led opening march around the showground arena.
When asked what the Relay for Life meant to her the answers was simple: “I am alive,” she said.
She added the event was a great way to bring the community together for a good cause.
“I like watching the little ones. My little granddaughter would love to be here but she is in Mackay. She was one of my carers,” she said.
It was a weary but goodspirited bunch of walkers after going all night that attended the closing ceremony of the 2016 Relay for Life.
Prizes were bestowed on teams for the best-dressed walker, best camp and the team that raised the most money.
This year the Caped Crusaders won that title after they managed to pocket $13,062 for the Queensland Cancer Council.
Co-event co-ordinator Wendy Barker said it was a “wonderful event”.
“There have been more teams, an extreme amount of money has been raised and more to come in. I am extremely proud of the committee, they have done a wonderful job,” she said.
“And without the teams and the kids it would not have been possible. We had so many kids’ teams from most of the schools. St Cath’s had four teams take part.” Ms Barker said plans for next year were being made early to allow the teams as much time to raise funds as possible.
The Bunnings mad scientist team begin their relay.
Jenn Rattray, Stephanie Bacon, Coralee and Alex Katasdoros, Benard Woods, Belinda, Madeline and Evan Beale are team Ray White Whitsunday.
Cancer survivor Lynne Erricker at the 2016 Relay for Life on Saturday.