Saturday’s wet weather didn’t dampen the community spirit at the Cessnock Relay For Life, with an estimated 500 people taking to the Baddeley Park track for the Cancer Council fundraiser.
A provisional total of $94,911.70 was announced on Sunday morning, with funds still to be banked, and should take the total raised in Cessnock Relay For Life’s five-year history past the $500,000 mark.
Cancer Council Hunter Region community relations coordinator Louise Mackay said the event was a great success.
“All funds raised on the day will ensure vital support and prevention services are provided to the Cessnock community to assist those currently facing a cancer diagnosis,” Ms. Mackay said.
“I would like to extend a huge thank you to the volunteer organising committee, who not only gave their time and support to the event for the entire weekend, but also throughout the year in the lead up to the event.
“I would also like to thank all the participants, sponsors and supporters of the Relay who have ensured the events success for another year.”
About 70 survivors and carers took part in the opening lap, led by Cessnock Relay For Life chair Ian Howson and patron Barry Preston.
A huge crowd gathered to see Member for Cessnock, Clayton Barr brave the dunk tank, a new attraction at the Cessnock Relay.
The auction to dunk Mr. Barr raised $300, with Felicity Adams and Arna Hickey bidding $150 each.
A variety of activities and entertainment were held in the afternoon, with local singers and dance groups taking to the stage; and a health pit stop providing helpful information on cancer prevention initiatives.
Loved ones lost to cancer were remembered at the Candlelight Ceremony of Hope on dusk, when Chad Tsakissiris told the story of his sister Blaize’s courageous eight-year battle with leukaemia.
Blaize, of Aberdare, was the patron of the 2010 Cessnock Relay For Life and passed away in July last year aged 20.
An impressive fireworks show followed the Hope ceremony and the walkers continued throughout the night, with old-school games at midnight helping to retain the momentum.
More than 250 Relayers enjoyed the free breakfast and the sun finally came out in time for everyone to pack up.
The date for next year’s Cessnock Relay For Life is still to be confirmed. The committee is considering a move to spring time to avoid clashing with the various events that were held in the Hunter this weekend.