Relay For Life celebrates 10 years in Australia

Thursday 16 April, 2009

Relay For Life, the Cancer Council's largest fundraising event, is celebrating its 10th anniversary and to mark this significant milestone a special event is being held at Federation Square, 8am-2pm on Thursday 16 April, with media invited to attend from 10am-10.30am.

John Landy, Nicky Buckley, Carl Riseley, Matt Welsh and Gabriel Gate are just a few of the special guests who will join over a hundred cancer survivors and carers in walking laps of Federation Square to celebrate survivors, remember loved ones lost and most importantly to raise funds for cancer research, support and education.

Background

Held in over 150 Australian communities each year, Relay For Life is an overnight community event where teams of 10 or more keep a baton moving in a relay-style walk or run to raise funds for the vital work of the Cancer Council. For more information visit www.relayforlife.org.au or call 1300 65 65 85.

Special guests

  • John Landy - former Governor & Bushfire Appeal Fund Chairman
  • Matt Welsh - world champion Australian swimmer
  • Nicky Buckley - model & TV presenter
  • Carl Riseley - performer & former Australian Idol contestant
  • Gabriel Gate - internationally renowned chef
  • Susannah Brisk - comedian (currently performing in ‘Mamafied' as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival)
  • Luke Ryan - comedian (currently performing ‘Luke's Got Cancer' as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival)
  • Leanne Del Toso - Beijing paralympian & member of Australian wheelchair basketball team
  • Aisha Buckle - 10 year old cancer survivor & Relay For Life participant
  • Michael Grayling - cancer survivor & participated in 180 Relay For Life events over 10 years

Vision / Picture opportunities

  • Celebrities and well known faces joining hundreds of cancer survivors and carers to walk laps of Federation Square to celebrate Relay For Life's 10th anniversary
  • Celebrities and Cancer Council representatives blowing out the candles of a 10th anniversary ‘Relay For Life' birthday cake

After being diagnosed with cancer at 23 years of age and being told he had 6 weeks to live, Michael Grayling is just one of Relay For Life's remarkable stories of challenge, strength and hope. Now aged 51, Michael has participated in 168 Relay For Life events since the event began a decade ago (sometimes 3 in one weekend!) and exemplifies the passion and commitment of so many of its participants.

Cancer Council spokesperson, Deb Stringer, said Relay For Life's 10th anniversary is an opportunity to reflect on, and celebrate, this unique event which has inspired so many Australians like Michael over the past decade to relay together and raise over $20 million for cancer research, support and education.

"Over the last 10 years, Relay For Life has grown from its humble beginnings in the Melbourne suburb of Murrumbeena, where just 260 local residents participated, to an event that now sees over 140,000 people from across the country donate thousands of hours and take millions of steps together to raise funds in the fight against cancer," Ms Stringer said.

According to a new report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the survival rate for cancer has increased by 30% in the last 20 years, and rates continue to improve with advances in treatment and earlier detection.

"Events such as Relay For Life have ensured the Cancer Council remains the leading independent funding provider for cancer research in Australia, investing almost $250 million in cancer research and enabling a number of life-saving discoveries to be made. The organisation supports Australia's leading cancer researchers, including Professor Ian Frazer, who is best know for the discovery of the human papilloma virus vaccine - the world's first ever cancer vaccine, and one which is now helping prevent cervical cancer in women throughout the world," Ms Stringer said.

"However, there is still so much to be achieved in our fight against cancer. By taking part in Relay For Life you can make an enormous contribution to the lives of people facing cancer both within your community and throughout the country," she said.


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