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"I know the wonderful power that every Relay has to change the lives of cancer patients and their families."
I was diagnosed with late stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma before the age of 40. I had six months of intensive chemotherapy and was in remission for four years. My disease recurred, and the recommended treatment was a bone marrow transplant, which was successful.
I decided to give something back and, with some friends, formed a support group. When Relay For Life came to NSW I was offered the opportunity to become involved, and joined the organising committee for the first Hills Relay For Life. My first role was as Teams Recruitment Coordinator a daunting task!
I will never forget my first Survivors and Carers lap. I was given the honour of reading the Survivors Oath, and when my wife walked on the track and took my hand, I felt a huge surge of emotion (it was incredibly powerful!).
After four years in this and other roles, and working closely with the committee chair, I was given the honour of chairing my local Relay for the next three years. Working with a great committee, we were able to grow our Relay considerably and establish it as a major community event in our region. I have been on my Relay committee now for thirteen years. During this time I also became an advocate for the cancer cause, and was involved in some very successful campaigns for better conditions for cancer patients and their families.
Relay For Life has become a huge part of my life and the more I am involved, the more I feel the power of Relay to do the things it does. Through my role as leadership advisor on the State Relay Advisory and Development Team, I have the privilege of seeing many Relays around New South Wales. When I see a Relay coming together I still feel a strong surge of emotion again because I know the wonderful power that every Relay has to change the lives of cancer patients and their families.
I was recently given the honour of being a Global Relay For Life Hero of Hope by the American Cancer Society. This was an incredibly proud moment for me, and one I want to share with all the wonderful friends and committees I have worked with.
Relay For Life is one of the most powerful weapons we have in the fight against cancer, and the more we can encourage communities to be involved, the more powerful the weapon becomes.