As the 2019 Mid North Relay for Life kicked off at Clare oval on Saturday afternoon, participants remembered and celebrated loved ones lost and survivors fought on in raising awareness, all unified in the battle against cancer.
There was colour and emotion, laughter and tears, all with a common goal that has seen this year’s local event already raise $28,000 for the Cancer Council.
More than 250 people from across the Mid North relayed around Clare oval from 2pm on Saturday through until 9am on Sunday morning.
Among those participating, Clare and Balaklava high schools had a large contingent, with Balaklava bringing 89 students and nine staff – one third of its student population – in five teams from year eight to 12 to be involved.
Many Balaklava High students said they were walking for former student, Max Heaslip, who passed away from cancer in 2018.
An opening ceremony on Saturday afternoon was followed by a carers and survivors lap of honour, before those guests enjoyed an afternoon tea.
Teams began their 19-hour relay, and entertainment by local performers continued through until midnight, with some of the highlights including an open mic session, Zumba and a newspaper fashion parade.
A Candle Light Ceremony was a special feature of Saturday evening, with local guest speaker Scott ‘Scooter’ Smith speaking of his battle with bowel cancer.
Each participant had their own reason for taking part in the Relay for Life.
Step In Time team coordinator Tammy Klingner was among those relaying again this year, and for her it was a very personal journey, in memory of her mum Wendy.
“I relay to remember and celebrate my mum who lost her battle to cancer six years ago. She loved this event. She was a regular participant. It made her feel empowered and ‘seen’,” Tammy said.
“It’s exhausting but uplifting all at the same time.”
The organising team was pleased with the success of this year’s event and is now on the lookout for some new committee members to assist in the organisation of the 2021 event.
“It is only a small team who put this event together and we have lost a few committee members over the last few years, so if anybody wants to get involved there is always room for them and their new ideas to get onboard,” event organiser Melanie Pink said.
Relay For Life will celebrate its 20th anniversary in South Australia next year, and it has been decided the fundraising tally for the Mid North event will be kept open until February 2020 so there is still time to donate to the cause.
Take a look at the Mid North Relay for Life Facebook page, or the website relayforlife.org.au for more information.