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Youth back Relay for Life

NATASHA THYNE
Last updated 08:25 07/03/2014
roncalli
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/ Fairfax NZ

JUST GRILLIN': Roncalli College students, from left, Conor Scott, Stephen Tui, Jesse Thurlow and Dan Patterson man the barbecue during their Relay For Life fundraiser.

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Roncalli College students had the barbecue sizzling to raise money in the lead-up to Relay for Life.

The school has six teams of students taking part this weekend, all doing their bit to fundraise.

They have had sausage sizzles and mufti days and are also selling ribbons for students to wear on the day in house colours, as well as in purple, the colour of the event - representing hope.

The captain of one of the teams, Jesse Thurlow, said they had a goal to raise $1100. It is the first time Jesse has taken part in the relay and he said he wanted to help out and get behind the school.

The event has a special meaning for the school, in particular students and staff who have had cancer themselves.

Year 11 student and cancer survivor Emily O'Connor has the honour of cutting the opening ribbon.

Emily had a brain tumour when she was two and, although this is her first time taking part, she cut the ribbon at the Greymouth event as a 4-year-old, while on the West Coast.

"I'm pretty excited, it should be really good, there are heaps of people going," she said.

Year 12 student Tim Leonard cut the opening ribbon last year and has been involved in previous years. His advice to those taking part was to just have fun, but resting was also good.

Tim also had a brain tumour, diagnosed when he was 3 1/2. He finds the survivors' walk very moving.

This year more than 250 survivors are expected to walk the survivors' lap.

Breast cancer survivor and teacher Sally Betts says the lap is a humbling experience.

"As a survivor it's part of the healing and is quite humbling. A big part is being surrounded by people who have been through the same thing as you; struggled just as much as you."

She said it was awesome to see students coming together, getting involved and making a difference. There will be 81 teams at Caroline Bay running and walking the track. Around two-thirds are youth teams, the most to enter the event, said Janine Tindall- Morice of the Cancer Society. "Youth have really got into the event this year - we're absolutely thrilled."

The opening ribbon will be cut at 4pm tomorrow. The event runs through the night, finishing at 10am on Sunday.

A candlelight ceremony remembering those lost to cancer starts at 9pm tomorrow.

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- The Timaru Herald

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