Rain fails to deter East Londoners as they walk in fight against cancer
R500,000 raised to boost treatment on the night
Hundreds of East Londoners braved the rain in honour of cancer victims and survivors at the CANSA Relay for Life event held at the Jan Smuts Stadium on Saturday evening.
The annual event sees those affected by the disease and their loved ones walk through the night in a display of bravado, courage and a fighting spirit driven to survive.
On Saturday, over 200 teams [between eight and 15 people] of all ages and races walked and ran around the track with a common goal – to keep the hope of conquering cancer alive.
Relay for Life East London chair Wayne Wayer said over R500,000 was raised on the night. All the funds raised during the event will go towards the work CANSA does in the fight against cancer. He said the event went on all night.
“Cancer does not rest. Therefore throughout the night a member of each team must always be on the track.”
In 2016, the event was awarded the Global Spirit of Relay Award at the South African Relay for Life Award summit, making it the best out of thousands of similar relays worldwide.
Wayer said the usually 12-hour long event, which goes on until sunrise was this year cut short at 2am due to the rain. He said it was remarkable to watch East Londoners steadfastly commit themselves to relaying round the stadium even in the rain.
“We had even talked of calling it off because of bad weather but the positivity showed by supporters and survivors was just amazing.”
The luminaria light ceremony is an integral part of the relay, Wayer said.
Often on full display on the stadium’ field, the translucent bags filled with sand and candles, with pictures of those fighting the disease and those who have succumbed to it, are turned on in a solemn ceremony. This year however, due to heavy rains, the bags were lined up to spell ‘hope’ on the grandstand and were left burning the whole night.
“It was absolutely stunning. After that the relay really starts as different teams stay on the track on the hour, every hour.”..