Relay for Life Success

22:31, Mar 01 2014
Southland Times photo
he Powernet team, complete with lit up power lines, back from left, Amanda Milne, Graeme Webby, Mary-Anne Smith, and front from left, Scott Murch and Sharon Johnstone, are ready for Relay For Life at Rugby Park in Invercargill.

The rain held off long enough for the Cancer Society's Relay for Life, which finished this morning.

Southlanders dug their heels in to raise more than $120,000 for local cancer services and research.

The Ridd family pitched their tent yesterday and began the 22 hour marathon for ''a good cause''.

Xanthe Ridd, 13, said it was fun because everyone was in good spirits.

When things were tough it was good having someone beside you to help spur you on, she said.

Her mother Debra Ridd said the family would be sore tomorrow and there were a few blisters among them.


"The weather held out alright but it was cold from about four or five o'clock.''

The family said they averaged between 18 to 20 laps of Rugby Park every hour.

Invercargill woman Kathy Obers participated in her first Relay for Life as a cancer survivor.

In June last year she was called to the hospital after a smear test had shown cancerous cells.

Mrs Obers had a full hysterectomy in July last year and has been cancer-free ever since.

Her workmates at Surrey Park Early Childhood centre, who she had walked with during the relay, had been incredibly supportive, she said. 

She had some advice for anyone diagnosed with cancer, ''think positive, look forward, and set yourself goals''.

She kept herself busy and continued working with children, which helped, she said. 

''And keep up to date with your smears.''

Invercargill city Mayor Tim Shadbolt, Gore districts Mayor Tracy Hicks, and Southland district Mayor Gary Tong opened the relay yesterday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Birds were released, which made a few swoops over Rugby Park stadium, and then the relay was on.

Led by a lone piper, cancer survivors wearing purple ribbons made the first lap.

The relay lasted for more than 22 hours.

About 88 teams registered in this year's relay, with between 10 and 20 people in each team.

Organisers said there would have been more than 1000 walkers plus volunteers during one part of the relay.

Relay for Life event co-ordinator Lyndal Ludlow said there was a mix of ages.

"We had prams being pushed, toddlers walking, zimmer frames and mobility walkers," she said.

Mrs Ludlow said $120,000 has been banked, but teams are still actively fundraising.

"We are expecting more to come in during the coming weeks," she said.

All money raised will be used for Southland supportive care, research and health promotions.

The Southland Times