A record number of teams were registered at the North Otago Relay For Life launch held at the Oamaru Opera House last Thursday.
More than 60 people attended the launch which included food by The Last Post, music by 15-year-old Oamaru guitarist Joseph Balfe and a heartfelt speech by St Kevin’s College deputy principal Kerry Ryan.
Approximately 25 teams have already signed up and selected their tent sites for the event, which is organised to raise funds for the Cancer Society, being held at Awamoa Park on March 28-29, 2015.
Event coordinator Laura Heselwood said the site map has been designed for 50 teams so with 50 percent of spaces already gone, four months out, they may have to make it bigger.
“With all these teams camping overnight together, the atmosphere is going to be electric.”
North Otago Relay for Life committee chairwoman Adair Craik said cancer survivor Kerry Ryan delivered an extremely moving speech which touched on his journey with the disease.
“His message was poignant. The cancer journey was not so much his, he said, the real journey was what his family had gone through and continue to go through today, and that was equally as tough if not tougher than his own journey.
“The journey was one of perseverance, resilience, faith, anger, trust but the love of family and particularly Kerry’s desire to be alive to watch his new grandson grow gave him hope.
“We must always have hope and faith”.
Cancer Society Otago and Southland chief executive Mike Kernaghan said he was impressed by the response to the launch.
“I was delighted with the level of support shown by the Oamaru and wider North Otago community.
“It is exciting that so many people took the time to attend; this is a reflection of the community’s commitment to the cancer society.
“I trust that this is reciprocated by us to the community”.
Registered teams will now commence fundraising activities in the build up to the event in March.
One such event is a Facebook campaign, which began yesterday, with LJ Hooker Oamaru donating $1 for every ‘like’ on the Relay For Life North Otago Facebook page to help increase its reach in the local community.
For more information call Laura Heselwood on 027 938 9421 or visit www.relayforlife.org.nz.
READY FOR ACTION: Waitaki District mayor Gary Kircher, councillor Melanie Tavendale and Youth Council chairwoman Jessie Waite at the launch.