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Quantum potes tantum aude: whatever I have within me that makes me unique and makes me what I am, this I must dare.
Rod Coy first heard of Relay For Life when a close mate invited him to take part as a venue manager for the event.
It began as a simple gesture of helping out a mate, but once he recognised the message of strength, hope and unity that echoed from the crowd at his local Relay For Life in Sutherland, NSW, he was hooked.
That was 15 years ago. Today at 62, Rod is Co-Chair of the Sutherland Relay For Life Committee and has been a dedicated member of that committee since its inaugural year, 14 years of which he has served as chair.
“Once I saw what Relay was there was a resonance with me and I felt I could help. I found it a sincere and honest way of being involved… Promoting the concept of community and, at the same time, raising funds...
It is a vehicle to promote the concept of families, kids and communities. And it’s only been proven to be better over the years. Fundraising is important…giving everybody a sense of what the community can achieve…Relay is a wonderful common cause.”
Rod has been an active community member for many years. As an avid Iron Man competitor since his early 30s, his determination took him all the way to the 1996 Iron Man World Championships in Hawaii.
Then in 2001, despite having led a very active life, Rod heard the words “you have prostate cancer” and the shock kicked in. Following his diagnosis, Rod underwent complex prostate surgery. It was soon after, that Rod recognised the global impact of events like Relay For Life. He made the connection that through communities coming together to fundraise for cancer that surgeries like his were made possible. A surgery which ultimately saved his life. Rod now saw Relay For Life as a unifying global movement that he was committed to being a part of.
Rod knew it was important to share his cancer journey to let other patients, survivors, their families and carers know that they aren’t alone. It is no secret that for many, cancer can be a very isolating experience, but for Rod, Relay For Life has become a platform for speaking up, sharing stories and showing support - to show others that they are not alone.
Standing by a firm belief in doing whatever you can to support your community, Rod uses cancer fundraisers like Relay For life as a conversation starter bring forward not only more awareness about cancer, but also a message of hope, community and leadership. Staying true to his Latin motto, “quantum potes tantum aude.”
Today, Rod continues his valuable work as co-chair of his Relay For Life committee and has been on the task force for 8 years. Rod credits Relay For Life for minimising the impact cancer has had on his life. Having been introduced to Relay within a year of his diagnosis, the fulfilment he has received through mobilising the community to come together to beat cancer is something so wonderful that he can’t describe it.
Relay For Life has offered him “positive effects that cannot be measured or expressed verbally.” Relay played a massive role in helping Rod through his cancer journey, and continues to enrich his life today.
Today as a cancer survivor, Rod prioritises his healthy lifestyle and time with his family, friends and the wider community. He is an art teacher, a lead singer in a band, a former Iron Man and a leader in cancer support. He is a survivor.
Rod will continue his contribution to Relay For Life and Cancer Council NSW as he starts to plan for the 2017 Sutherland Shire Relay For Life coming up in May.