More than 400 people braved Saturday’s heat to step out at Baddeley Park for the eighth annual Cessnock Relay For Life.
A provisional total of $65,000 was announced, which will go to the Cancer Council initiatives such as local research, supportive care measures for local community members going through cancer, preventative talks and booklets and government advocacy campaigns.
Cessnock Relay For Life chairperson Clint Ekert said he was very proud of what the committee achieved in such a short time: a relaxed event that encompassed the important aspects of remembrance, celebration and hope for a cancer-free future.
“We couldn’t do it without our relayers, our team captains and our business community who this year rallied behind us,” Mr Ekert said.
“The money raised will go towards not only research but patient services in Cessnock and the Hunter, it will transport people to the Mater for treatment, it will pay for legal and financial advice, it pays for help lines and support workers, it pays for information stands to get awareness out in the public and so much more.”
Cancer Council community relations coordinator Glen Parsons said it was good to see the Cessnock community embrace the event, which was scaled back to a 12-hour format this year.
Mr Parsons said the candlelight ceremony of remembrance was once again a highlight, with the whole relay stopping for the sombre occasion.
A celebration of life and time to remember those lost to cancer was signified with a dazzling display of fireworks with a closing ceremony that shortly followed.
Mr Ekert said the most uplifting thing for him was to see so many relayers leaving with a huge smile on their face.
“Yes, it was an emotional day for us all but to be able to leave with a smile and say ‘I’ll see you all next year’ meant we have done what we set out for,” he said.
“Our committee are already planning a very exciting 2016, even while we were packing up the ideas were flowing on how to make it an even bigger and better event.
“I would like to thank all of our helpers, volunteers, relayers and sponsors for making this Relay For Life such a success, and a huge thank you to my committee.”
The committee will resume in November. Anyone wishing to join can contact Mr Ekert on 0400158323 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raffle winners were: first prize, Lynn Mosley; second, Natalie Tiernan; third, Kay Nemeth; fourth, Candice McDonald.