It was an emotional weekend for the estimated 1000 strong crowd gathered for Griffith’s 2017 Relay for Life, who raised a staggering $109,000 to go towards the nation’s fight against cancer.
But while the preliminary total is beyond impressive, for those who walked, ran or danced around Griffith’s Exies Oval the steps taken were about far more, according to chairman Grant Hearn.
“What is unique about the Relay for Life is that it is about the opportunity to share the journey, to comfort and be comforted,” he said.
“I think it shows resolve and how lots of little steps can make a big difference, there was always someone on the track which is important – the event doesn’t sleep because cancer doesn’t sleep.”
Mr Hearn said while there was a mountain of adjectives he could use to describe 2017’s Relay, it had been first and foremost a “spiritual” experience.
“Because of the depth of care and the depth of concern shown while everyone was sharing the cancer journey,” he said.
Theat range of emotion cumulated in the event’s traditional ‘candlelight ceremony’, just one of a million moments bringing home the reason why the weekend was so important.
“From loss we gain resolve and we gain determination and we look forward to a time when we don’t have cancer,” Mr Hearn said.
It is a time Mr Hearn is hopeful isn’t too far in the future, with the variety of ages present over both days a further cause for hope.
“Cancer touches all age groups, and the beauty of the youth and children being involved is that we are hopefully bringing up people in what is a cancer smart community,” he said.
“They are part of the solution.”
“It gives our community the confidence and the courage to talk about cancer, and that is something which wasn’t always there.”
Mr Hearn said he was “very confident” the preliminary tally of money would rise even further, thanks to the famous generosity of the Griffith community.
“Here we are so accustomed to people helping, it is amazing but you know whenever you need something done it will be,” he said.
The strong community spirit was further harnessed by crowds who took the opportunity to throw their support behind the I care for palliative care campaign, garnering hundreds of signatures.
While organisers endured Friday night’s storm with some trepidation, Mr Hearn said he was happy to report nothing stopped the weekend from going off in perfect fashion. “Divine intervention must have fixed that up for us,” he said.
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