Relay may raise $80k

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More than $74,000 has been raised for the North Otago Cancer Society as a result of the weekend’s Relay for Life and the final figure is expected to exceed $80,000.

“There’s still some money coming in, so hopefully we will be able to beat the $80,000 mark which they reached two years ago,” event organiser Laura Heselwood said.

“I think we will get there.”

The relay is a 24-hour, non-stop walk around a track, entered by teams, who can do the whole thing together or spread it out among their members.

Mrs Heselwood was stoked the community got in behind the event so well.

“It was a relay for all ages. Families could come down here and have fun, and that’s what they did. I want to thank Sport Waitaki for putting on activities, the Last Post for supplying the food for the afternoon ceremony and everyone else involved.”

She said the highlight of the weekend for her was the candlelight ceremony, which attracted 80 people who have been affected in some way by cancer.

Cancer Society Otago Southland marketing communications manager Mark Hamer said the support was overwhelming.

“I’m just incredibly happy with the support from everyone and just thrilled with how well the event went.”

He said he was pleased the weather played its part.

“Thankfully the weather was pretty good and we only got hit with that little bit of rain on Saturday night.”

Class of 2000, a group of girls from Waitaki Girls’ High, entered the relay and loved it.

“We stayed up all night and did the whole thing, our legs are a bit sore today, however,” team member Sian Stephens said.

The girls jumped at the chance to take part because they all knew someone who had been affected by cancer.

“Someone we know, family or friends, has been affected by cancer and we thought it was the least we could do.”

Wendy Fallon, of the Legal Eagles, said if people found it hard during the walk they needed to stop and have a think.

“We are walking around a track which takes a couple of minutes; they’ve battled cancer for far longer then that, so we just looked back to them and use it as motivation.

“They did a great job and we thank them for that,” Mrs Fallon said as the finish line approached.

The relay has been held in Centennial Park in recent years, but because sports matches meant the park was unavailable, the relay was moved to Awamoa Park, which delighted organisers.

“It’s all gone really well here, it’s in a fantastic location and that’s been a major factor in us drawing a crowd, because it’s been much more accessible,” Mrs Heselwood said.

“It’s been a great venue and we will look into where we host the next one.”

All the money raised will be used in North Otago.

By Brayden Lindsay

PHOTO: CAROL EDWARDS – The Oamaru Honda-Stihl Shop team at the Relay for Life held at Awamoa Park over the weekend.