House debates

Thursday, 23 October 2008


Relay for Life

4:54 pm

Photo of Craig ThomsonCraig Thomson (Dobell, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to bring it to the House’s attention that this Saturday there will be the Relay for Life on the Central Coast. Some six or seven weeks ago, I had the privilege of meeting with the organisers of this event as well as a number of cancer survivors to talk about and to help to promote this year’s Relay for Life. The Relay for Life is about celebrating the fact that people have survived and moved on in terms of their cancer; but it is also a very sombre affair in that we mourn those who have passed away in their particular personal fight with cancer, which affects so many Australians. On the Central Coast there are over 1,895 people who are diagnosed with cancer every year—that works out to be five people a day on the Central Coast alone. Unfortunately, of those on the Central Coast who are diagnosed with cancer, 756 per year will die per year from some form of cancer. This is two per day. It is a disease that affects all sorts of people and a great number on the Central Coast, as it does around Australia.

The Relay for Life, as well as commemorating and celebrating the lives of those who have passed away and celebrating those who have successfully fought cancer, raises money to help research into finding cures for the many cancers that exist and continue the plague our society. The target for the fundraising in this year’s Relay for Life is $170,000. I can say that we are very confident that that $170,000 will be raised, which will be a record amount. Already, before the relay has even started, some $40,000 has come in, and that is a record amount for this early stage. As well as the record amount of money coming in in relation to this great event, the number of people participating has greatly increased. One of the great things about people on the Central Coast is that they are prepared to get in and help those who are less well off than themselves. They have a great deal of community spirit and a great deal of sympathy for those who are doing it tough.

This year, 133 clubs—which account for around 1,600 people—are participating in the relay. That compares with only 1,200 people last year, which was a record number that year. You can see that that is a significant number of additional people who will be participating in the Relay for Life this year on the Central Coast. A lot of work has gone into the organisation of this event, and there are two people that particularly need to be thanked for the work that they have done on the Central Coast. The first is Lesley Chart, from the Central Coast Cancer Council, who has done an absolutely tremendous job in bringing this event together. She has been able to promote the event so that there are more participants in it, more people being made aware of the risks of cancer and so that more help can be given to those who are suffering from cancer. The Central Coast has a particularly high level of melanoma cancers. We are a beach society where, in a typical Aussie sort of style, we go down to the beach and often forget to put on the sunscreen. It is events like this, leading into summer, that are just so important in having people recognise the risks that are there in terms of their behaviour. It encourages people to take some steps—by putting on sunscreen and making sure that they are covered up—to lessen the problem. The other person that I need to thank is John Millard from the Mingara Recreation Club which, once again, will be hosting this year’s Relay for Life. The Mingara Recreation Club has a very strong sense of community. It is a community-run club and it is appropriate that this is the club where this event is centred. This is a very worthwhile event. It is an event that the Central Coast community are supporting and I am proud to be associated with it. It is an event that we know will continue to go from strength to strength.

Question agreed to.