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Waimate will host South Canterbury’s Relay For Life for the first time next year.

The annual South Canterbury event, which was first held in Timaru in 2005, is a major fundraiser for the Cancer Society.

Teams of participants set up camp and take turns walking or running around a track for 12 hours.

The event is usually held in Timaru, but last year, Geraldine secured hosting rights and South Canterbury Cancer Society manager Leola Smith said it provided a refreshing change to the event.

‘‘It was a phenomenal success and the community really got behind it — we raised $110,000 out there,’’ Ms Smith said.

The Waimate Relay For Life would run on March 14 from 10am to 10pm, she said.

‘‘There are some awesome individuals down there [who] have pushed us to have it in Waimate — we’re really really exited to have it down there.’’

The A&P showgrounds had already been secured as a venue.

The Waimate District Council would cover half of the costs of hiring the venue — and Waimate business owners had met the remaining costs.

As well as being a fundraiser, the Relay For Life was a way for people to share their experiences of cancer, Ms Smith said.

Cancer survivors were invited to wear purple sashes and start the first lap, and people who had died of cancer were honoured with a candle-lighting ceremony, she said.

‘‘We make no excuse for putting emotion into the event, because we want it to be emotional for people to remember their loved ones.’’

The Waimate District Council has entered a team, under the name ‘‘Council Cancer Crusaders’’, and has already raised $1300.

The council’s committee secretary, and team organiser, Karalyn Reid said it was important for the council to support the event.

She encouraged other organisations in the district, and further afield, to take up the challenge and enter a team.

‘‘Everyone has a story with cancer, whether it’s a friend, a family member or themselves — it’s not hard to get people involved.’’

How to enter:

  • Go online to waimate.relayforlife.org.nz
  • Click on the ‘‘Register’’ button to get started with either a team registration, join a team or register individually to make up a team.
  • Registration is $15 per team member. Teams of 10 are encouraged.
  • Registration includes an 8m x 6m site and a candle bag per team member.