19 December 2022

Full-scale overnight Relay for Life back on track for first time in four years

| Claire Fenwicke
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Relay for Life volunteers Jannah Sani, Michael Liu and Robin Edmunds

Relay for Life volunteers Jannah Sani, Michael Liu and Robin Edmunds can’t wait to welcome everyone to the full-scale 2023 event. Photo: Supplied, Cancer Council ACT.

Lace up your runners, get your family and friends together and dust off your tent to take part in the first full-scale return of Relay for Life ACT.

The fundraising event is fully back for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, following two years of virtual events and a condensed daytime relay.

It’s Cancer Council ACT’s lead fundraising event and brings hundreds of Canberrans together, walking more than 24 hours to show that because cancer never stops, neither will the community.

“One of the highlights of Relay for Life for many had always been the overnight aspect and we are excited to be able to bring this back in 2023,” Cancer Council ACT CEO Verity Hawkins said.

“Relay For Life has become an important event in the Canberra community, which is reflected in the commitment of our teams and supporters, and all the funds they raise go back into supporting people impacted by cancer in the ACT through our support, prevention and research programs.”

The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) athletics track in Bruce will host the event on 1-2 April, 2023.

More than 1000 participants are expected to take part to help meet the fundraising target of $300,000.

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One person keen to be back on the track is Jo Penny, who has been team captain of the ‘Walkie Talkies’ for the past decade.

She said while the online events were great, there was nothing like seeing the whole community come together for a cause.

“It’s that gathering that I think we all missed, getting together is what we all really look forward to,” Ms Penny said.

“Just having the ceremonies and events, the little celebrations, all these important steps that you can’t replicate online.”

Ms Penny said it was important to know funds raised in the Territory’s only Relay for Life event would stay local.

“So do some laps together and know that ultimately you’re working towards getting a cure,” she said.

And there’s more to the event than walking.

Volunteers are currently brainstorming ideas for activities to make the hours pass even when you’re not on the track.

Volunteer committee chair Michael Liu said everything would be supported by local businesses and organisations.

“This year’s volunteer committee brings old and new faces together, united with a common goal to build on the ACT Relay experience and raise some much-needed funds,” he said.

“We look forward to seeing new and returning teams sign up for this momentous return.”

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Mr Liu said while the “classic” events would be on hand, such as the survivors’ lap and candle light ceremony, the team had big plans for events around the track.

“It’s what I call the ‘sparkly bits’ to make it fantastic… kids’ activities, interesting stalls and programs, local entertainment to enrich the experience for everyone,” he said.

“I really want to make sure Relay for Life connects with the immediate community.”

He said Relay for Life was more than the event because teams joined together long before walking their hundreds of laps.

“It’s very much about the journey, signing up with your team, picking a name, raising funds and going through the whole process,” Mr Liu said.

“Then it’s about getting there on the day and throwing yourself into the event experience … because it’s all ages, it lets you release that inner child.

“Above all else it’s really fun, there’s not a lot of opportunities where all ages can be part of something like this.”

The full program is yet to be announced, so watch this space.

Registrations are now open for Relay for Life 2023, with everyone encouraged to gather a team, register and start fundraising today.

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