It was a day of many highs as hundreds of enthusiastic fund-raisers got together for this year’s Great Lakes Relay for Life at Peter Barclay Sports Field, Tuncurry.
Unfortunately, the weather once again rained on relay’s parade, but it did little to dampen organisers and participants’ enthusiasm.
Scheduled to run for the 24-hours from April 13-14, the event was forced to shut down prematurely when it was hit by a brief, but intense storm.
The original event was postponed in March following torrential rain.
However, during the Saturday-long event, supporters managed to raise more than $50,000 for cancer research and local support programs, while at the same time ambassador, Ashley Duckworth took the opportunity to share his great news.
Ashley, who was diagnosed with testicular germ cell cancer in January 2017, is now in remission from cancer.
The cancer which was extremely fast growing, had spread to his lungs and lymph nodes.
Following three rounds of chemotherapy, Ashley was referred to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, (RPA) Sydney with just a four per cent chance of survival.
During this period he was given four days of chemotherapy then four stem cell transplants which remarkably has seen Ashley in remission.
Ashley wanted to give something back to his family and friends, who incidentally helped raise funds during his treatment and recovery, and became the Great Lakes Relay For Life local hero.
As the face of the Great Lakes Relay For Life campaign, Ashley helped to spread the message: “Live everyday like it’s your last day, and don’t let cancer beat you mentally.”
Ashley maintained his positivity throughout his journey.
“I thought deep down I could beat it,” he said.
Committee chair, Terry McDermott was delighted the majority of formalities – including the touching candlelight ceremony – were completed before the storm.
“The incredible, collective effort of the dedicated committee along with the support of the generous Great Lakes community culminated in raising a magnificent amount of money,” Mr McDermott said.
“These funds ensure that Cancer Council can continue to support Great Lakes families through their cancer journey.”
Ashley accessed Cancer Council’s cancer information booklets which proved very helpful and were available to everyone, also funded by the Relay along with a number of programs including Transport to Treatment, Home Help and other helpful support and prevention programs for cancer patients, their families and carers.
“To continue the fight against cancer and the great progress Cancer Council is making in finding a cure for cancer, we couldn’t do it without the help of amazing people like the Great Lakes community,” Cancer Council community relations co-ordinator, Katie Mead said.