How to help 27,000 Queenslanders diagnosed with cancer each year
IF YOU, a friend or family member has experienced the suffering a cancer diagnosis can bring, you'd understand the significance of Relay For Life.
As Cancer Council Queensland's largest annual fundraising event, it raises vital funds for cancer research and support services for those affected.
If you haven't been impacted by cancer in one way or another, perhaps knowing that one in two people will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime will be enough to get involved.
Between this month and November, 40 Relay For Life events are taking place from Cairns to the Gold Coast and Cancer Council Queensland is calling on communities to get involved by registering a team.
Executive officer Chris McMillan says Relay For Life brings communities together, united by their goal of giving hope to locals affected by cancer.
"It is our vision this year to support Queenslanders affected by cancer every minute, every hour, every day - and this can be made possible through Relay For Life," Ms McMillan says.
"All funds raised by teams are directed into lifesaving cancer research for better treatments, prevention programs and local support services for those affected.
"We hope that about 16,000 people will take up the baton this year to make a difference."
Relay For Life is an 18-hour community event involving teams of up to 15 people who keep a baton moving in a relay-style walk or run overnight.
Teams also take part in inspirational ceremonies, fundraising activities and team challenges, supporting each other and sharing stories of hope.
"Being diagnosed with cancer can be one of the most challenging obstacles someone can face, but with your help they will know they're not alone, Ms McMillan says.
"Walking with someone affected, offering support and a shoulder to lean on could have an incredible impact on an individual and provide much-needed hope."
Zalee Bates, 48, was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. She had an elective double mastectomy and reconstruction to prevent the chance of a reoccurrence, and has been taking part in the Relay for the past two years, after losing both her mother and aunty to cancer.
Last year, Zalee was named Face of Relay for Cancer Council Queensland's Redcliffe Relay For Life, in recognition of her fighting spirit and determination to raise awareness and give hope to cancer patients, particularly women.
"Mum believed that by sharing your stories you could potentially remove the fear for other sufferers and so that's why Relay, and highlighting the importance of screening through my own story, means so much to me," Zalee says.
"My close friends rallied behind me in support of the cause, and we ended up raising about $1000 through donations and selling cakes, raffle tickets and lucky dips.
"The event was much more therapeutic than I could have ever imagined; I had the best conversations with friends who walked with me, and it was incredible being surrounded by other people who had been affected by cancer."
Ms McMillian says Relay For Life is more than just a fundraiser.
"It's a community event for a great cause, supporting survivors and raising awareness for ways to beat the disease," she says.
"Every dollar raised and every step taken at Relay gives vital hope to the 27,000 Queenslanders diagnosed with cancer each year.
"So get your friends, family, community groups, colleagues or school mates together, make a team and register now at relayforlife.org.au or by calling 1300 65 65 85."
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