Two weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to take part in the Relay for Life, run around the University of Otago’s campus. Despite my fatigue, I really enjoyed the evening. It was a joyous and vibrant night, full of love, hope and sweaty runners. Today I spoke with Damon Lillis, one of the organisers for this year’s amazing event.
What is Relay for Life, and why is it important?
Relay for Life is an annual event that raises money for the Cancer Society. Participants walk around the track for the duration of the event – often in teams. There are three key messages present at every Relay. These are Remember (those that we have lost), Celebrate (those that are still with us), and Fight Back (against cancer through research and funding). Teams are encouraged to do fundraising prior to and throughout the event. Relays are held all around the world. There was even one on in Miami on the same night as our one!
Why is Relay for Life held throughout the night?
Relay for Life is held throughout the night because cancer never sleeps. It’s important as sheds light on a part of the struggle that cancer patients go through.
How did this year’s relay go?
Incredibly! There was incredible participation and support, not just from the student community, but from the wider Dunedin community. As well as many student teams, there were university staff teams, and teams from some of the local high schools. There was an amazing vibe to the event this year, partly due to the support from the community. Having the track go past the clocktower, over the leith, and along the new St David walkway area definitely added to the vibe. We also had great support from so many talented musicians that came and performed at the event. Overall, it was an awesome event to be part of!
How much was raised at this year’s relay?
The last I heard it was at $96,000 and still rising!
What was your experience organising the event, and would you do it again?
I was very fortunate to be part of an incredible group of people organising the event. Everyone was so hardworking and committed to the cause. It was truly inspiring to see. I would like to give a big shout out to the head of the committee, Georgia Mayer, who was an absolute force of organisational power. Not only would I do it again, but I would recommend it to anyone and everyone!
Any final words?
If you’re keen on being part of the organisation of future Relays, join Cancer Core. You can find us on Facebook. We always are looking for new members, and we do heaps of other events outside of Relay for Life.