Relay for Life's march against cancer raises $12,000
SCORES of determined walkers marched through the night on Saturday to help finance the fight against cancer.
The annual Relay for Life event attracted a large field but no-one could match Maxene Grisell who clocked up 80 kilometres as part of Curve's Gym team Curvaliscious.
The effort continues Ms Grisell's incredible performances with distances of 74, 70 and 67 kilometres covered in previous relays.
Her effort was rewarded when, for the third consecutive year her team was revealed as the top fundraiser with $12,000 collected.
A former oncology nurse for 15 years, Ms Grisell said she drew on her memories of former patients to keep her going.
Relay organiser Yonit Kittay said overall participant numbers were down this year but the amount of money raised continued to increase.
She said $40,000 had already been collected but money would continue to flow in for weeks and a final count will not be made until next month.
Ms Kittay said it was a great result for a small town.
Walkers began the relay at Ballina's Kingsford Smith Park at 3pm on Saturday and continued through till 8am yesterday.
Ms Kittay said this year's relay had attracted a record number of youth participants.
"That's what the event needs to grow. Having young people involved helps bring in parents and the wider community," she said.
Cancer survivor Elizabeth Shaw was among those who took part in the event, lining up in the 35-strong Team Tegan which comprised mainly high school students.
"It was great to see so many young people participating in a community event," Ms Shaw said.
Ms Kittay also praised the efforts of the organising committee.
Rain and strong winds sent some walkers home early but the majority of participants continued on through the weather and the night.
Team Tegan was on track to raise $3500, well above their target of $1500.
At current rates, it is expected one in two Australian men and one in three Australian women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
The statistics are "quite sobering," Ms Kittay said.