2012 Hastings Relay for Life
Relay for Life is an annual event that raises money for cancer research. Teams gather at an oval or sports field and walk through the night, keeping a virtual baton moving in a relay style walk or run.
Taking part in the Relay for Life means celebrating survival, remembering those lost and fighting back against cancer. Many families have their own way to celebrate survival and remember loved ones. Raising money for cancer research is another way to contribute and also ensure that future generations will beat the disease. Lynette Bowen and Raelene Kenny are both Lecturers in Nursing at The University of Newcastle's Port Macquarie campus who are involved in the fight back.
"I had participated in the Relay for Life previously but I mainly did it to connect with the community,"
says Lyn, who is also a cancer survivor.
"When I told people I worked for the University of Newcastle they assumed I must commute up and down the coast. The Relay for Life helps to lift the University of Newcastle and the School of Nursing and Midwifery's visibility within the town. We want local people to know there is a campus in Port Macquarie and we are training the nurses who will one day look after them."
Lyn quickly realised the benefits of the Relay. Not only did it raise much-needed funds for cancer research, it was a great way to connect with colleagues, students and friends.
"It's not often you find yourself walking in the quiet of the night," she says, "but we should. It is a good time to reflect and share our stories."
Lyn and Raelene decided to enter a team in the Hastings Relay from the School of Nursing and Midwifery and invited students to join in the cause.
"It's a great experience for students, I work at the hospital and the University so this is a great way of bringing the nurses and the students together to talk about their lives and the profession. Many of us camp out together and organise a barbeque breakfast, so there is a social component. The students can get to know us better, we raise the profile of the University and the Bachelor of Nursing course, and also increase student awareness of the community they are learning to care for. Students find that participating is fun and rewarding."
says Raelene, an intensive care nurse who now balances an academic load with clinical work.
Treading the grass in the middle of the night, Lyn and Raelene have both heard some incredible stories: stories of grief and loss and stories of survival.
"Some students bring their friends and family. It is a good time to talk and open up about your experiences. We talk to the other teams and meet people we otherwise wouldn't have met. And, it helps to boost our profile locally. People get to know we are here."
Lyn is a registered nurse with a clinical background in education and infection control. She moved to Port Macquarie for a year in 1987 and has been there ever since. Raelene arrived in Port Macquarie in 2005 and worked in intensive care before starting at the University. It's a community they both love and enjoy and they want to give something back. On a beautiful summer's day in Port Macquarie, it's easy to celebrate life in a coastal town. Life is good with sun, sea and surf on your doorstep. When tough times strike, however, it takes the same community to pull together and support each other. Many people get through life by putting tragedy behind them and placing one foot in front of the other. Taking time out to listen and support one another makes that walk just a little bit easier.
In 2011 the School of Nursing and Midwifery (Port Macquarie) raised $3000 between 2 teams and with 3 teams currently registered for 2012 the School hopes to increase the amount raised.
The latest student team to register for the 2012 Relay For Life posted the following heartfelt welcome online.
"We are student Registered Nurses studying at the University of Newcastle in Port Macquarie, joined by our partners, families & friends supporting the battle against cancer. Support us as we will endure to support, care for & remember our past, present & future patients."
Get involved today and celebrate, remember and fight back!
Address: Stuart Park, Port Macquarie
Start time: 10.00am
Start date: 24 March 2012 (continues for 24hours)
Registration fees: Early bird registration $15 per person (pay by 09 March 2012). Registrations from 10 March 2012 onwards $20 per person.
Survivors Walk: 10.20am
Candlelight Ceremony of Hope: Held at dusk
The Fight Back March closes proceedings just prior to 10am on Sunday.
For further information please contact: