A “BITTER-SWEET” atmosphere prevailed at the Corangamite Relay for Life over the weekend as the event notched up its 10th and final year.
About 400 participants took part in the 18 hour relay at Leura Oval, with people represented from across the entire shire.
Committee president Trish Wynd said 12 teams were registered with about $38,000 raised to date.
“We didn’t quite reach $1 million for the 10 years, but we got pretty close at just over $950,000 and I think that is something truly remarkable,” she said.
“Eighty five cents from every $1 raised has gone into further research to finding cures for cancer and into providing a wide range of support for people going through the cancer journey.
“It’s thanks to fundraisers like the relay that cancer treatments are improving all the time and success rates are improving.”
Mrs Wynd said long-serving committee member Toby Cronin, who is currently battling cancer, and Camperdown local Ian Pearson, who lost his wife to cancer earlier this month, cut the ribbon to open this year’s relay.
“That was pretty emotional, but very fitting,” she said.
Dr John Menzies then circled the field playing the bagpipes to lead the team members on the first lap.
“Although people were saddened that it was our last relay event, there was still a lovely atmosphere throughout the whole weekend,” Mrs Wynd said.
“It was a really great vibe.”
While raising much-needed funds for the Cancer Council, the relay also provided emotional support for individuals and families now battling cancer.
“It was a chance for people to chat with others who have been through the same thing and know exactly where you’re at and what you’re feeling,” Mrs Wynd said.
“It was also a great symbol of hope, that by fighting cancer together as a community, that one day we might beat it completely.”
Mrs Wynd thanked all past and present committee members, volunteers and participants.
“So much work goes on behind the scenes to organise the relay,” she said.
“A lot of our committee members have been there since the start, but there are a few other people who have also been, including Peter Conheady who has emceed the event at no cost year after year.
“Congratulations to all the towns who have hosted the relay – it was wonderful to have your support.
“It’s bitter-sweet to be finishing up, but we’ve done it on a high and can be proud of everything we achieved.”