Teams set to put best foot forward in Relay for Life
David Mills caught the Relay For Life bug a year ago.
He wasn't even participating - he was delivering coffee to his sister Karen Mills and her friend Mandy Workman on the Saturday afternoon of the weekend-long event.
After dropping off the coffee he went home, but returned at dusk to take part in a candlelight remembrance ceremony for cancer victims - of which there are many in his family - and ended up walking the track until the event finished at midday on Sunday.
This year Mr Mills - who had his own brush with the Big C in the form of a brain tumour 23 years ago - and his sister Karen have teamed up and have entered the 2014 event together with a group of friends and workmates called Millsy's Mob.
"We are a bit of a mixed team so everyone will make some new friends over the weekend, Ms Mills said. "This event is really important to both David and me. David gave up his Bruce Springsteen ticket so that he could participate."
Ms Mill's workmates, teachers from Sacred Heart Girls' College also have a team entered called Hearts of Gold.
Relay For Life is the Cancer Society's second biggest fundraiser behind Daffodil Day. Participants in teams of 10 or more are charged with keeping their team's baton moving around the track for the entire 22- hour event.
It's not a race though. Relay For Life is about celebrating with those who have overcome cancer, remembering loved ones lost to cancer, and fighting back against the disease by fundraising in a fun way.
"Everyone in the team has been affected by cancer in some way," Ms Mills said. "Four generations of my family have had some form of cancer, including my brother, who had a brain tumour 23 years ago. I'll be lighting candles for the family we've lost and cheering for our survivors during the opening lap."
About 75 teams have entered this year's relay, which will be held from 2pm today to midday tomorrow at AgResearch in Ruakura.
Spectators are encouraged to come along and support the teams, cheer on survivors during the Survivors' Honour Lap and light a candle in remembrance during the Candlelight Ceremony. Entry is by gold coin donation.
All funds raised through Relay For Life stays in the Waikato/Bay of Plenty region and assists the Cancer Society to provide supportive care for cancer patients, their carers, family and friends and fund cancer research.
At the 2013 event, Hamilton team knACCkered won the Davidson Shield by raising more than $14,000 for the society and a team from St Peters, Cambridge won the Westside Kiwanis prize.