Saturday’s wet weather didn’t stop more than 300 people from taking part in the Cessnock Relay For Life at Baddeley Park.
The event, now in its tenth year, raised an estimated $87,000 for the Cancer Council – with many donations still to be banked.
About 50 cancer survivors and carers registered to take part in the opening lap and morning tea.
Twelve-year-old Jade Roberts was the highest individual fundraiser, with more than $3200 to her name after having her long red hair shaved off at the event.
Ang’s Army – who walked in memory of Cessnock woman Angella Whipps – was named as the highest fundraising team, raising just over $4000.
Cessnock Relay For Life chairperson Stephanie Ekert said she was thrilled with the result.
“After a huge weekend Cessnock did exactly what i knew they would,” she said.
“I am very proud of how they always come together on relay day. It’s like a big family event.
“We are all there for the same reasons – to beat cancer.
“The rain didn’t stop many, which was lovely to see.
“The candle-lighting ceremony and video was as moving as always. I do not think there was a dry eye on the field.
“On behalf of the committee we would like to thank Cessnock for helping us raise $87,000 – we can beat cancer together!”
Ms Ekert took over the role of chair this year from her brother Clint, who now works for the Cancer Council as a community relations coordinator.
The siblings got involved with Relay For Life in memory of their beloved aunt Di Wilson, who died from cancer in 2015.
Remembering loved ones lost to cancer is an important element of Relay For Life, as is celebrating survival and fighting for a cure.
Cessnock’s Face of Relay for 2017, Kelly Moylan delivered the Fight Back speech and spoke about the successful advocacy campaigns the Cancer Council has conducted over the years, such as abolishing the chemotherapy co-payment and securing more funding for palliative care.
Ms Moylan said 45 people signed up to become a Cancer Council advocate and two more expressed interest in becoming a volunteer driver for Cessnock’s transport-to-treatment service (which is funded by the Relay).
A breast cancer survivor, Ms Moylan said she was extremely honoured to be the Face of Relay and said it was a fantastic event.
“I have so enjoyed being the Face of Relay for the past year. I have met so many amazing people,” she said.
“And as well as all that, we got rain!
“We really needed the rain, so I don't think anyone minded too much.”
Donations can be made at relayforlife.org/cessnock until the end of October.
Check out the survivors’ and carers’ lap in the post below…
And some aerial footage here.
Face of Relay and Cancer Council advocate, Kelly Moylan, gave the Fight Back speech.
The Relay concluded with a spectacular fireworks display.