An iconic community event is back in a new format for 2023 but still has its sights firmly set on raising awareness and funds for a cancer free future.
Relay for Life will be taking place over 12 hours from 9am to 9pm on Saturday, May 27 at the Penrith Paceway.
It will be Penrith Relay for Life Committee Chair Chris Planer’s first year coordinating the event from start to finish after COVID impacted his first few years involved.
Planer went through his own battle with cancer in 2005 when he was diagnosed with a face tumour at the age of 25, which required a 17-hour operation, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“After the initial cancer treatment, I recovered and went back into the workforce and didn’t deal with the mental side of things and over the years with loss of confidence I ended up in a depressive state and turned to drugs and alcohol,” Planer said.
“In 2013 I managed to get myself sober through a detox and treatment and decided to focus on community service, so I started studying and in 2019 I saw something advertising for people to join the committee for Relay for Life.”
After a short hiatus, Planer hopes that people can return to one of Penrith’s best known fundraising events, and new people can take part in walking laps and raising money for the Cancer Council while enjoying a day full of fun and activities.
“It is a chance for the community to recognise and celebrate local cancer survivors, those who are going through a cancer experience and their carers, to honour loved ones that have been lost and to raise money to try to save lives,” he said.
“We will have a range of teams that will get sponsored to do laps of the course and then there is a carnival type atmosphere with singing, dancing, food trucks and different events.”
With 187 relayers, 31 teams so far and a goal of $60,000 to reach, there is still time to sign up to take part.
While the previously 24-hour event has been halved as it still recovers from the pandemic, Planer said everyone is encouraged to take part however they can to make it a success.
“Even if people can’t attend, we would appreciate people sharing the word or our Facebook posts as we want to make sure there is lots of interest so it can continue for many years,” he said.
“If a business or individual is looking for a good cause they can donate prizes as we need things for people such as best dressed on the day, fastest relayer and for who does the most laps.
“Cancer is one of those things that everyone has felt in some way, so it’s important to bring everyone together for a moving and fun experience.”
For more information or to register for Penrith’s Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org.au/event/penrith-2023.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers Local, State and Federal politics for the Weekender, as well as crime and general news.