Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Fundraising for Cancer

October has been a busy month for cancer fundraising at our local Curves gym. Last week our trainers hosted a Girls Night In which raised over $300 towards breast cancer research. Approximately fifty ladies attended, bringing plates of food and drink to share. There was a fashion parade modelling Curves workout clothing and featuring members who had lost weight. I never strive to be the centre of attention so when I was asked to model some clothing I freaked out a little but it was all for a good cause and we generated a lot of laughs. We raised money by raffling donated items and by paying $5 each for a neck and shoulder or foot massage. Bargain. My daughter Lauren came with me (purely for the giggles) and thankfully did not take any photos. If you have not already done so, I would urge you to organise a Girls Night In. It does not have to be in October and is a good excuse to get together and raise money for an important cause.

One thing I discovered at this get together is that there is a kit to assist women with their breast self examination. It is called a Liv Aid and was designed with the assistance of cancer survivor, Olivia Newton John, hence its name. These have been around for a few years now and I wonder why I had never heard of nor seen them before. So, just in case you have not come across one, this is what it looks like:

At the Girls Night In the Liv Aid was placed over a few grains of sugar on a plate to demonstrate how you can detect the smallest lump. Amazing that you can detect a lump that small under your skin.

I purchased mine for $10 at Curves and you can buy them from the Liv Aid website. The best thing is...the money goes to breast cancer research.

The second cancer fundraiser event I attended this month was Relay for Life. If you ever get an opportunity to put together or join a team of 10-15 people for this event, I guarantee it will change your life. Basically it is an 18 hour relay where teams walk or jog from 3pm in the afternoon until 9am. We had various shifts based on when people could attend, and three teams participating. I am not sure yet how much we raised (close to $3000) through our raffles and sponsors but whatever the amount is, we have contributed towards the $15million raised for cancer research through this event since its inception.

I was really impressed with the thousands of people attending. Our venue was the One Mile sports ground and our task was to complete laps of the oval continuously for the 18 hours. The event started off with a lap reserved for cancer survivors and their carers, with everyone gathering around to cheer them on. Right from the start I had tears in my eyes. This event was not just a fundraiser, it was also a ceremony or tribute to those who were fighting or who had lost their battles with cancer.

It was a great opportunity to get to know the Curves girls better. The capes were our batons and all three had to be out on the oval at all times. One of the members made them for the occasion.

We all bought a length of Ribbon for $3 each and every time you did a lap you added a bead. In four hours I walked 27 laps of roughly 400m each. That's 10,800 metres or 10.8km! Wow, now wonder my legs are sore.

The highlight of the night for me was the lantern ceremony. We all gathered to light paper lanterns which were a paper bag with some soil in the bottom and a tea light candle. The bags had HOPE printed on them and you could write the name of a loved one you had lost.

It was the most moving experience, a beautiful ceremony with a choir singing and slide show of cancer victims in the background.

We then did a lap holding our candles and placed them around the oval. The end result was spectacular and many people were in tears, including me who chose to honour my beautiful step-mother Robyn who died of bowel cancer.

I am so glad that my journey is leading me out into the community. This event has been going on for several years and I have been missing out on something truly magical and very special. Thank you Gympie for being such a beautiful community and not only raising money for a worthy cause, but stopping to take the time to appreciate the battles being fought, survived and lost.

I feel truly blessed to have been a part of it and will for many years to come.

Have you ever attended an event like this?

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