For Shona, Relay For Life is more than just an event, it’s personal. After taking part in the Survivors and Carers Lap at Adelaide Relay For Life for the first time last year while undergoing cancer treatment, Shona and her daughters are looking forward to stepping out this May with their team The Wishful Warriors to celebrate, remember and fight back against cancer.
Adelaide Relay For Life is a special 19-hour event, which sees teams relay overnight while raising funds for Cancer Council SA to support South Australians impacted by cancer. This year, the event will be held at SA Athletics Stadium on 6-7 May and will feature everything that makes Relay unique including a Survivors and Carers Lap, a candlelight ceremony and entertainment.
Shona is taking part in Adelaide Relay For Life for the first time this May with her two daughters. Until she was diagnosed with rectal cancer in 2021, she hadn’t known many people who had been impacted by cancer.
“It was overwhelming because I’m a single mum and I didn’t know how I was going to make sure my girls were okay, and how I was going to pay my bills and manage time off work,” Shona says.
“I didn’t worry about how sick I was or how sick I was going to be through treatment, I’d just busied my head with practical things and looking after everyone else because that’s what we do as mums.”
Shona hadn’t heard of Relay For Life until her daughter was invited to join a team last year. As she was still going through treatment at the time, she wasn’t well enough to participate, but decided to volunteer and join the Survivors and Carers Lap.
The Survivors and Carers Lap is the first lap of every Relay For Life event, where cancer survivors, those currently going through a cancer experience, and carers are invited to walk the first lap to celebrate and recognise their experience.
“It makes you proud of your inner strength. You’ve done this thing, or you’re doing this thing, or you’re helping someone do this thing so you should be proud of that. That’s an achievement,” Shona says.
“It makes you feel less alone, because everyone there has been in that situation, and you have another respect for the person next to you.”
Shona says it became personal for her again, when two months after finding out that she was cancer free, her partner was diagnosed with leukaemia.
“I wasn’t worried about myself because I had to be fine for him and my girls. But then when he got sick, suddenly I was completely weak. I was a mess, because you just want to keep those that you love safe and healthy,” Shona says.
“I went from being so far away from cancer to suddenly here it is, right in my face, all the time.”
This year, Shona and her daughters have registered their own Adelaide Relay For Life team called The Wishful Warriors and are stepping out for a cause that is so personal to their family.
“When it becomes personal you just think, this is now a thing that I’m going to do. It’s not hard to give up some time and do something for a good cause, because so many people helped me when I was sick,” Shona says.
“I like that even though there’s different teams, you wouldn’t know because everyone is just kind to everyone – there’s a comradery and a quiet respect. It’s just emotional to be part of something like that when you know it’s important to so many people.”
Register your team to step out at Adelaide Relay For Life on 6-7 May at SA Athletics Stadium. For those who aren’t interested in joining a team but would like to take part in the Survivors and Carers Lap, registration is free.