Relay For Life: Doing it for the ones who can't

Last updated 10:13 03/03/2014

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Walking around AgResearch in Ruakura for 22 hours isn't everyone's idea of how to spend a weekend.

But the 75 teams of Waikato people who signed up for Saturday's Hamilton Relay For Life had good reason - everyone involved had been affected by cancer in some way.

For first-timer Kathy Major it was a "really lovely" time with laughter and tears, and onesies and "minions" among the costumes.

"Lots of laughter and fun as well, but there's that undertone of the people we've lost and why everyone's doing it," she said.

Mrs Major lost a 7-year-old daughter to a brain tumour, and was part of the Waikato Saints team of St John ambulance staff and volunteers.

"It's nice to support each other and cry and have a hug and walk, really."

Relay veterans included Linda Dpledge-Brooker and her Rainbows for Robin team. They have been in every one to honour Robin Dpledge, who died of cancer in 2001.

The relay opened at 2pm on Saturday with a survivors' lap, and the teams kept on trucking in an "amazing atmosphere" until midday on Sunday, event co-ordinator Robyn Creighton said.

There were costumes of all kinds, entertainment, childrens' activities, and candles were lit at 9pm to remember loved ones.

"These candles burn throughout the night and at two o'clock in the morning when you're feeling really tired you look at these [candle] bags and think 'actually, this is not too bad compared to what somebody who has been suffering of cancer has actually gone through'," Mrs Creighton said.

This year the average team size of 20 was bigger than usual, she said, and there were two new shields - best costume and best decorated Relay For Life shirt.

The costume title was taken out by knACCkered ACC team, and the best shirt title went to Family and Friends United for a two-option look of ripped tassels and splattered dye or colour co-ordinated stripes.

The Department of Corrections team raised the most money and claimed the Davison Shield, while the youth equivalent went to St Peter's Cambridge.

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- Waikato Times


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