Casey Relay for Life team Red Gems will relay into its second year on Friday evening.
Relay for Life has a different meaning to so many, whether it is a celebration for those that have survived, or a sad memory for those that have been taken by the dreaded cancer.
Some even relay for those they don’t know, but want to help raise much needed money to find a cure for cancer.
Team member Stuart Woolf started relaying eight years ago after his family member passed away at age 37 from cancer.
He felt helpless and started relaying with Casey in honour of her.
For the last seven years Mr Woolf has been team captain for his own team, In Loving Memory, but chose to join the Red Gems team for this year as he sadly lost his father late last year after a three year battle of pancreatic cancer.
“We will all be there to support our mate Stuart and family, and know his dad will be proudly watching over him during the 24 hour event,” team captain Kerryn Cerchiaro said.
Debbie Hooke has been relaying for two years with team Red Gems. She relays for a number of people in her life that have been touched by cancer.
Member Simon Johnson started relaying after he lost his mum to bowel cancer. He participates for his dad beating prostate cancer because he wants to support those who have supported them.
Anna Mangano joined Red Gems, formally ‘Corrie’s Crew’ six years ago, when her dad was battling cancer, now a survivor.
“I want to help raise much needed funds for cancer research,” Ms Mangano said.
“Relay for Life is a great event and a very humbling experience.”
Red Gems’ Jo Knezevic has many reasons to relay today.
Sadly she lost three of her grandparents and step father to cancer, and now her father in-law is battling terminal prostate cancer.
This year will be the hardest year for her and the family, but they battle on, walking for them, and others, whilst raising as much as they can in the hope a cure is found soon for every cancer.
This year, Ms Cerchiaro’s son Lachlan and his two friends Mitch Hutchison and Kai Harris are shaving their long locks of hair and raising money for the team.
They will be onstage at 12pm on Saturday.
“Relay for Life is a fun and moving overnight experience that raises vital funds for Cancer Council’s research, prevention and support services,” Ms Cerchiaro said.
“This event has lots going on throughout the event for all ages, from children activities, to onstage live performances and much more.
“The food vendors serve up delicious food, and keep us all well hydrated and fed, they are amazing because they also give back to Casey Relay, they even have their own team created that has raised over $20,000 in the last four years.”
Ms Cerchiaro is especially looking forward to the Casey on the Green event on the Saturday at 4pm, where the community comes together to celebrate whilst watching a few live acts.
The Casey Relay for Life will take place at Akoonah Park Berwick on Friday 1 March.
So far, the Red Gems have raised $6661.
To donate visit https://secure.fundraising.cancer.org.au/site/TR/RelayforLife/CCVIC?team_id=61074&pg=team&fr_id=5684
From left, Mitch Hutchison, Lachlan Cerchiaro and Kai Harris are shaving their long locks of hair and raising money for the Casey Relay for Life Red Gems team.