Rocky Relay keeps on fundraising

Cheeky Cheerleaders Team.

Back around 20 years ago when Glenys Kirkwood was asked to fill in as Master of Ceremonies at Rockhampton’s Relay For Life for a colleague who had himself been diagnosed with Cancer, she had no idea just how much “Relay” would become a part of her life.

Relay For Life is an extraordinary annual family event where teams of people fundraise throughout the year and then walk around an oval for 12 hours relay-style, to acknowledge that Cancer never sleeps. Traditional aspects each year allow the public to applaud the survivors; honour those lost, and to feel they are making a difference in the quest for a world with more birthdays in it.

“I turned up that first year to CQUni grounds where overnight a bare oval had been transformed in to an amazing village, populated by fairies and circus performers, super heroes and more, and as we went through the inspirational survivor laps and the candle lighting ceremony all mixed in with such fun and hilarity, I was hooked” Glenys said.

“I’ve been a volunteer ever since and over the years my four children and some of their children have become involved.

“Some would say the highlight of the event is the Candle-lighting Ceremony held on stage at dusk. It is a highly emotive setting where candles are lit to honour those who are no longer with us, while survivors recount their journey. It is a celebration of life and an opportunity for participants to show their emotions openly in a supportive environment found in very few other places.”

Glenys went on to say “Who was to know that in 2007 it would become very personal for me with my husband’s diagnosis of prostate Cancer.”

“The only year I missed Relay was in 2012 when my family were in Brisbane where my husband was in palliative care.

“We stayed in one of the Cancer Council support lodges that the monies raised at Relay help provide. The local accommodation units in Rockhampton’s Upper Dawson Road are also constantly in use with families from out of town able to be supported through their treatment. These are also largely funded by monies raised at Relay For Life.”

The most recent Central Queensland statistics are that one in just over two of us will hear those terrifying words “You have cancer”, with the median age of diagnosis at around just 65 years of age.

Many out there will know however, that it can strike at any age.

“Each year a Face Of Relay is nominated to typify members of the general public,” Glenys explained.

“Our ‘faces’ have ranged from a beautiful little girl of six; both men and women, young and old; highly fit athletes, and a 19-year-old legend who is sadly no longer with us.

“Their stories are always inspirational and help underline the fight-back message that everyone should listen to their bodies and make the effort; find the time; put it in your calendar; make sure you visit Breast-screen; have that Pap smear; do the annual prostate check and bowel screen and importantly, understand your own body.

“Don’t put it off. It’s the one thing you can do for yourself that may save your own life.

“Volunteering can give your life purpose” Glenys said “and whatever your age, if you have even an hour or two a month you’re able to donate to others, grab the opportunity and know that you are helping make a difference.”

She urged people to visit the Rockhampton Relay For Life page or contact the 2023 Chair of Relay Ken Coker at ken.coker@optusnet.com.au or 0402 399 257.”

It is a positive fact that Cancer survival rates are improving thanks to intensive research and this research has undoubtedly been supported by the $4,025,872 raised since Rocky Relay’s inception in 2003. This locally raised money has also contributed to the provision of increased local treatment options and services provided by Cancer Council Queensland saving patients the need to travel to Brisbane for care.

“It’s our extra special 21st birthday this year where the theme is CELEBRATE! It will be a fabulous opportunity for adults and children of all ages, to let their hair down and just be silly for a few hours while supporting a cause that has touched most people’s lives”, Glenys said. “Please come and join in the fun”.

To mark the coming of age, a special fun celebratory 21st birthday dinner will be held at Athelstane House on Friday 30th June with a 3 course meal at $55 per head. All past Relayers and members of the public are welcome to attend.

The event : This year’s event is again held at CQUniversity who have been Relay’s major sponsors and supporters for its entire 21 years. It will run for 12 hours from 10 am to 10 pm on Saturday 22 July.

Become involved, donate, or register a team at : https://www.relayforlife.org.au.rockhampton

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