Rain didn’t dampen the spirits of those kicking off the 2017 Eurobodalla Relay for Life happening for 24 hours at Bill Smyth Oval, Narooma on Saturday morning to raise money for the Cancer Council.
“Looking at the weather and this crowd is indicative of the level of commitment from this community to those in need,” said master of ceremonies Shanna Provost, as she welcomed all those present.
Aunty Vivienne Mason performed an emotional Welcome to Country noting that in the past the word cancer was “taboo”.
“The old people just said they got ‘sick’ and didn’t talk about it or even get treatment,” she said, finishing with a minute’s silence for those who have passed.
State Member Andrew Constance then said a few words congratulating the Relay for Life committee for the effort they had put into organising the event and also acknowledging all those participating.
Mr Constance then divulged that his father in the last two weeks had just been diagnosed with a melanoma.
“There is a lot we still need to do, we need to look at our environment, what we eat and do everything we can to look after ourselves and our loved ones,” he said. “There is not a cure yet, but not a week goes past where we don’t hear about an incredible advancement in the fight against cancer.”
Relay for Life ambassador and Narooma resident Jon King then gave the message of hope.
“Let’s celebrate the lives of cancer survivors, support those who are fighting cancer and to honour those we have lost, I declare this Relay open,” Mr King said.
Then he, together with fellow ambassadors and cancer survivors Tralee Snape and Jess Bourke cut the ribbon, officially starting the 24-hour relay.
The teams of walkers then started doing laps of the oval and will continue for the next 24 hours until 10am Sunday morning.
Stopping in for a lap or two was distance walker Marcus Shaw of Bermagui, who the day before ran from home to Narooma and then on Saturday was walking from Narooma to Moruya and then on to Batemans Bay on Sunday. Read more about Marcus
Supporters came from far and wide, including Julie Collis and Liz Pieper and her children Willow and Jonty who came all the way from Albury, as they serve on the Border Relay for Life committee and wanted to show their support for the Narooma community.
Couples Tony and Robyn Kurtz and Carol and Keith Howdin came all the way from Sydney to walk and show their support for their friends John and Jane Rowley of Dalmeny.
Narooma High School had a team of students walking as did the Blue Water Dragon dragon boaters and many other community groups participated.
Narooma Sporting and Services Club general manager handed over a cheque for $4000 to Cancer Council NSW community engagement coordinator Kate Brett, while Kristy Beecham from the Narooma Ice Creamery was popular serving up coffees with all proceeds going to the Cancer Council.
Everyone is encouraged to stop by all day today to show their support with musical entertainment on for the walkers and spectators.
Starting at 6pm there will be candles for sale for the special Hope Ceremony at 8am when as the light fades, those who have lost their battle with cancer will be remembered, and all are welcome to attend.