Relays put cancer in the spotlight
VITAL funds for Cancer Council NSW's research, prevention, information and local support services will be raised in March and May at relays in the Tweed and Ballina regions.
Last year, the Tweed Valley community raised $56,000 for the Relay For Life.
This year's Tweed Valley Relay For Life takes place on Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11, at the Cudgen Leagues Club, Kingscliff.
Committee member Kathie Dwyer was invited to Relay For Life by a friend about four years ago.
"My mother had breast cancer back in the late-70s and is still alive despite being told she only had six months to live," Kathie said.
"My father retired at 60 and got a tumour first, followed by leukaemia a few years later, then went into remission.
"At the end, lung cancer finally got him at age 85 last April.
"I relay now this year in memory of dad.
"He didn't care about being sick but hated to see young kids, mums, dads suffering.
"His attitude was 'I've lived my life - let's go save some younger persons'."
The highlight of the relay for Kathie is doing more laps than she did the year before.
"I want to do as many laps as possible to represent all those who are no longer with us and do not have the luxury of walking anywhere," she said.
"My feet and back kill me the next day but it is nothing compared to suffering a terminal illness."
Thanks to events like Tweed Valley Relay For Life, Cancer Council NSW is able to continue local programs such as Improve Your Long Game.
Implemented by Coolangatta and Tweed Heads Golf Club, Improve Your Long Game is a sun-safe lifestyle program aimed at men over 40.
Funds also support the Cancer Council NSW Information Service at Tweed Hospital, which supports up to 200 patients and carers a week.
This service is used by residents on the Far North Coast as well as across the border in Queensland.
Ballina Shire Relay takes place this year on Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6, at the Alstonville Showgrounds.
Committee chairman John Woods said the event was a lot of fun for all ages.
Attractions include live music, games, kids' activities, food trucks, a health hub and overnight camping.
"It is not a race, you don't have to run. I certainly don't run," John said.
"It's really a chance to get together with your mates or family, or both, and think about loved ones touched by cancer, maybe learn some new things to stay healthy, have a dance, dress up in costumes, shed a few tears, and share stories and laughs."
Funds raised support Cancer Council NSW services such as Transport to Treatment where eligible Ballina Shire patients are offered subsidised transport to their medical appointments in Lismore, Byron Bay, Tweed Heads, Gold Coast and even up to Brisbane.