Five hundred people took part in this year's Relay for Life at Marcellin Park

ALL SMILES: Steph Poole, Kaz Wilcher, Tanya Freeman with Madi Lawrence at Maitland Relay for Life on Saturday. Picture: Simone De Peak
ALL SMILES: Steph Poole, Kaz Wilcher, Tanya Freeman with Madi Lawrence at Maitland Relay for Life on Saturday. Picture: Simone De Peak

“We all know someone affected by cancer. We are all there for one reason – we want to fund a cure.”

This is how Maitland Relay for Life chairperson Natalie Anderson describes the atmosphere at the annual event. 

“We had about 500 people … It was fantastic. It ran really smoothly ” Ms Anderson said.  “The least amount of people we had on the track was nine – and that was in the early hours of the morning.”

Marcellin Park became a blur of purple and costumed as the large crowd, which included 38 teams, took turns walking countless laps over a 24-hour period on Saturday. ​

The annual event is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate local cancer survivors, patients and their carers, to honour and remember loved ones lost to cancer and to raise money to help save more lives.

It also included the remembrance ceremony which pays tribute to the brave people who have lost their battle with cancer with a candlelight vigil.

But there was also something a little different this year with a survivors and fighters ceremony – which Ms Anderson believes might be a Relay for Life first.  

She said the organising committee wanted to share the message of hope by spotlighting survivors, and how everyday people were making a difference. 

“The work we are doing is having a positive impact because there are more and more survivors,” she said. 

“We are knowing more survivors than we did 10 or 15 years ago.”

The local event has already raised $85,000 of its $100,000 target.

“We are confident we can hit that $100,000 but we’ll know more in the next few weeks,” Ms Anderson said.