Relay for Life raises $100,000 and counting

By Amy Shanks

Emotions ran high at the annual Relay For Life event with hoards of passionate supporters turning out to raise funds for The Cancer Society.

The 20-hour event, which began on Saturday, attracted 67 teams and more than 1000 participants who walked, ran and even skipped around the track.

"It was amazing, just the feedback and the energy was incredible. We even had teams on the track at 3am," Cancer Society NZ Hawke's Bay manager Trudy Kirk said.


"There were quite a few school teams this time, about eight, their parents and their schools would have been so proud of them - they were racing throughout the night. I imagine there will be some very sore legs today."

Many of those who took part made up business groups, but there were also families and friends who came together for a common cause.

"We work with [cancer] but it affects people in very different ways, from the oldest to the youngest - they are all there for the same reason."

More than 150 survivors kicked off the event with a lap around the track, led by a band of Highland Drummers.

"As they walked past all the teams, people in the tents stood and clapped for them and cheered. It was very special."

A hugely emotional candle light ceremony was held as dusk fell, where paper bags decorated with personal messages for lost loved ones, were laid out along the track.

The Relay For Life finished yesterday morning, with a communal releasing of balloons containing pledges, promising to fight against cancer.

"Those pledges may be about improving your health, going to get that mammogram you have been putting off, supporting friends or starting to eat better."

As of Saturday night, the tally of funds raised had reached $107,000, but there was still more to come.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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