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  • A first glimpse of Relay For Life

    A first glimpse of Relay For Life
    15 November 2017

    I came on board as a Relationship Officer at Cancer Council SA only seven weeks ago, responsible for helping to bring together our Relay events across the state. Having heard some of the heartbreaking stories of why people Relay, and after speaking to some of my colleagues about their experiences, I thought I was fully prepared to participate in my first Relay weekend in Belair, but I soon found out that being there is a different experience entirely.

    I was expecting the Relay For Life event to be intense, driven by emotion and passion. What I witnessed upon my arrival was exactly that, but tenfold.  I was particularly moved by the candlelight ceremony and the survivors’ lap, where there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. What a wonderful ceremony to pause and remember those who have suffered from such a horrible disease.

    It was a glaring reality of what we are all dealing with, and why we come to work every day.

    Another key moment for me was seeing St John’s College participating in each activity, showing utter respect at all ceremonies and embracing the Relay For Life weekend in full.

    I spent some time visiting various teams and as you can imagine almost everyone in attendance was participating to raise much needed funds for Cancer Council SA but also to do their bit for a loved one or even themselves as a survivor. The survivors and carers afternoon tea was well attended and Cancer Council SA representatives were lucky enough to hear the inspiring stories from various participants.

    I cannot praise the Event Leadership Team (ELT) enough; they were all on deck from the early hours of day one and their commitment to the event carried throughout the night right up until two hours after the event when the final pack down was still occurring.

    From my eyes, it is always important to let the ELT take control of the event, they are the passionate group that have worked for months to deliver a great event. We are the support to ensure that they are enjoying their time volunteering on a great event. From set up to pack down the ELT at Belair were motivated, upbeat and they provided a positive attitude for all to see. This carried through to teams such as the famous ‘Ardrossan Angels’ to St John’s Grammar School, and all 17 teams. Straight after the Opening Ceremony various activities for all ages were offered which kept the crowd engaged in what was a fantastic Relay For Life event.

    The Belair Relay For Life raised an incredible $49,787.47, smashing the $40,000 target, thanks to the combined effort of the 17 teams, sponsors, ELT and community supporters who came on the day.

    As a first-time visitor to the Belair National Park, I was suitably blown away by the beauty of this part of Adelaide, and by the spirit of the community there. The SA Power Networks-driven ELT were brilliant and what can I say about Ardrossan Angels—what a group!

    Looking back, it isn’t about what it means to me so much as I can see what it means to everyone around me, from participants to the ELT, fellow Cancer Council SA staff, survivors and carers. The emotion at the numerous ceremonies and the thank you calls we received post event highlights the importance of this event to various communities across the world.

    No time for rest, on 18–19 November is Mid North (Clare) and with 28 teams and 340 participants, we are aiming to raise upwards of $60,000! I can’t wait to keep the momentum going with this next event. To register for a Relay For Life near you, visit the website, email relay@cancersa.org.au, or call me on 1300 65 65 85. 

    Hope to see you at a Relay soon.


    Aaron Tannahill

    Relationship Officer 

    Cancer Council SA

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