Relay team united in hope

READY TO RELAY: Michelle Simmons, Joy Quin and Colleen Bakers, members of the Sanctuary of Hope team, are ready to relay at the March event.
READY TO RELAY: Michelle Simmons, Joy Quin and Colleen Bakers, members of the Sanctuary of Hope team, are ready to relay at the March event.

Hope has united a new team to walk in memory or support of loved ones at this year's Relay for Life.

Sanctuary of Hope, a team consisting mainly of people involved in Sanctuary Corner and its governing board the Hope Partnership, is determined in its quest to generate awareness and raise money for the Cancer Council of South Australia.

Three of the team's members, Colleen Baker, Michelle Simmons and Joy Quin spoke about the impact cancer has had on their families and their reasons for pounding the track at Woodward Park for the Relay for Life.

Wearing her team t-shirt, Colleen showed three names printed on the back of her shirt. These are the people she is relaying for. Sadly, two have passed away while the other is fighting the effects of cancer.

For Michelle, cancer has hit too close to home on too many occasions. Eight family members have either passed away or battled cancer. Three generations have died from bowel cancer. 

"It's something my children will have to be diligent with, with screening," she said.

One of the people she is relaying for is her three-year-old nephew diagnosed with leukaemia.

While her family is fundraising in Adelaide, and she is unable to participate, she decided to take part in the Relay for Life. 

Speaking of younger people, she said sometimes there was an attitude that cancer wouldn't happen to them. She said two of her family members were younger than 40 when diagnosed with bowel cancer. 

Michelle has also penned an inspirational poem that she says keeps the flame of hope alive. She is encouraging people to come to the Relay to hear the poem. 

Money raised at Relay for Life events goes towards the variety of services provided by the Cancer Council of South Australia including their accommodation facilities which were praised by the team members.

Michelle said her mum stayed at the Cancer Council's facilities for six months. "It was a godsend for them," she said of the accommodation service.

Joy, who is already well-known in the community for her advocacy as a Cancer Council ambassador and is on the event's organising committee, is taking part in memory of her mother and husband.

Chairperson of the Port Pirie organising committee, Marg Noble, said there was still time for people to become involved in the March 30-31 event and register a team online.  "We want as many people as possible to come along and join us in our fight against cancer," she said. "Thanks to Port Pirie and the surrounding area, we've been able to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars since our first event."