I am a mum of two and Primary School teacher whose aim is to never be home during the midday movie. I believe that I am only ever a car trip away from an adventure.
Celebrate, remember and fight back
My friends and I have wanted to organise a girl's night away for years but still we haven't managed it. We have talked and planned and talked and planned so much so that it feels like we've been away without actually having set foot outside of our neighbourhood. However that's all going to change when on the 12th of October we don pink feather boas, pitch a tent and come together as "Team Joan" to join in the Cancer Council "Relay for Life" at Duncan Mackinnon Reserve, Murrumbeena.
Relay for Life is an overnight relay styled challenge where groups of 10-15 members keep a baton constantly moving from noon Saturday to noon Sunday. It's done along a circular running track and a team member must be on the move at all times during that 24 hour period, walking, jogging, skipping or dancing, whatever one feels like at the time.
A team event for a very worthwhile cause
Source: Relay For Life website
This may not be the getaway we had envisioned and planned so meticulously over the years but what an amazing way to band together as a community and as friends to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and stand tall and fight back against this disease.
It's a fun and safe way to help raise much needed funds for the Cancer Council, who don't receive any government funding. All you need to do to get involved is form a team, be that with friends, family members, neighbours or co-workers and register online. Each member pays a small joining fee of $20 and receives a groovy purple polo top to wear during the event and even a hot breakfast in the morning, although you do need to supply your own mug, plate and cutlery. That should keep the early morning walkers motivated. Relays are set up all over Melbourne and you can find the one closest to you on their website.
Once registered, teams work hard to fundraise using any means possible to get some extra cash together to support the cause. Did you know that for only $50 a staff member can be trained to answer phones for the Cancer Council hotline? Or for $500 a research team can purchase tissue samples to assist with research.
However, there's a lot more than just walking happening during the relay. There's free entertainment, prizes for fun and colourful outfits and number of laps achieved and ceremonies too. Not to mention the opportunity to meet and chat with a lot of other people. Most participants and teams choose to stay the entire time taking turns to eat, rest, sleep and walk. However if a sleepover under the stars isn't for you, then consider coming for a few hours or even just drop by to support a team or friend.
Who are you relaying for? Source: Bento00 / Wikimedia Commons
An opening ceremony starts off proceedings and the first lap is purely for survivors and carers who send a strong message of strength and courage as they wear sashes with pride and get the 24 hours off to a colourful start. A candlelight ceremony welcomes the night and allows for some peaceful reflection.
This year Relay for Life Murrumbeena celebrates 15 years and is hoping that this will be their biggest year yet. In 2012, around 39 groups registered with a staggering 860 members participating in this inspirational event. They raised a huge $89, 000 which certainly helps with important research, prevention and support costs. That is a big outcome and goes to show what can be achieved when a community bands together.
It promises to be fun, full of laughter and a real feel good event, but let's be frank, it's bound to be an emotional and humbling experience for many people too. If you're looking for a way to make a difference, to give and show support, why not register a team, join a team or sponsor someone you know who has already agreed to give their creature comforts up for a night and be a part of the excitement.
But just for the record, my next girl's night away will not involve a tent or a shared toilet block....just saying.