OPINION

Shire Matters with Mark Speakman: Relay your way!

One in two Australians will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.

In 2020, there were around 150,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed nation-wide. When you consider those numbers, it stands to reason that there would be few people in our country whose lives have not been touched, one way or another, by cancer.

Even though the number of cancer diagnoses continues to rise, we're seeing a promising downward trend in the death rate. (It's fallen more than 24% over the last four decades.) Patients today benefit from more effective, personalised treatments. Every dollar spent on research brings us a step closer to a cancer-free future.

For 19 years, the Sutherland Shire Relay for Life has given residents the chance to contribute financially to ground-breaking cancer research and vital support services, to celebrate survivorship, and to honour the memory of loved ones lost. Relay began in the United States in 1985 and today is celebrated by more than 4 million people in over 20 countries. The Sutherland Shire event - a labour of love for local cancer survivors - is one of the ten biggest relays in the world. It has raised close to $7 million.

Faced with COVID restrictions in 2020, our community mobilised for a 'virtual relay' that raised another $120,000 for Cancer Council NSW. This year, Relay for Life will once again look a bit different, with participants encouraged to 'relay their way'. That could involve taking to the track at Don Lucas Reserve with your team, or it might simply mean joining with neighbours and friends to walk your dogs around local streets.

Cancer never rests and nor should we. Let's colour the Shire purple and yellow and make this year another big success story for the Sutherland Shire Relay for Life.

Head to shirerelay.com.au to register and kick off your 2021 relay!