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"I borrowed a gazebo and a tent, and turned up not knowing what was in front of me. Twenty-four hours later I had walked 36km, raised just over $3000 and had an extremely sore body. But after such an inspiring weekend, I was hooked."
In October 2011 I lost a very close friend to cancer. She was 37, and six months pregnant with her second child.
This rocked my world. I was left asking WHY, and what could I do to make a difference? I went on the internet and found Casey Relay For Life, which was due to be held in March 2012, and jumped head first into starting a team, In Loving Memory. I borrowed a gazebo and a tent, and turned up not knowing what was in front of me. Twenty-four hours later I had walked 36km, raised just over $3000 and had an extremely sore body. But after such an inspiring weekend, I was hooked.
Twelve months on, my team had grown and my target was $5000. Raising this amount gives us a research award and enables us to direct where our sponsorship dollars go (for example, which cancer research it goes to). Simon Johnson (CHEP regional manager) joined our team, as he had lost his mum ten years earlier to cancer. With better preparation, my own tent and gazebo, and a growing team that had been touched by this horrible disease, we raised just over $5000. I walked 62.8km in the 24 hours for the cause. I walked myself into the ground and ended up having a knee operation, but it was nothing compared to what cancer sufferers have to go through. This was a brilliant effort, but I wanted more.
New members joined our team in 2014, and we sold lots of raffle tickets, had lots of prizes donated and sourced numerous silent auction prizes for the team to auction off. We organised the campsite better, learning from previous years, and all worked hard to make a difference. And that we did! $9226 later, we had smashed our previous best and felt like we were starting to make a difference. I walked 56.8km, which was short of where I wanted to be, but my body physically wouldn't let me go any further. Last year we finished eighth out of 110 teams, and I personally finished seventh out of over 4000 walkers.
2015 is the year we are going to smash the $10,000 barrier for the first time. Casey Relay For Life is the biggest Relay in Victoria, with over 4000 participants and 110 teams. It has been running for twelve years and aims to raise $500,000 each year.
Since starting our team, my wife’s two grandfathers have passed away from cancer and both my father and father-in-law have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, plus at least four close family friends have passed away in the last two years.