Are your ready to Relay For Life this weekend?

Relay for Life team captains picture at recent team meeting in Breaffy House: Francis Brogan (Lycra Loonies), Agnes Cox and Janet Durkan (Carpe Diem), Stephanie Reilly and Baby Leah (Team Breege), Eilish Loftus (team chair on relay committee), Siobhan and Kevin Barrett (An Post), Mags Connell (Mayo County Council), Bernie Ginnelly (Ann’s Angels), Bridge Walsh (Walsh’s Way), Marie Callum  (Remembering Lorraine - Castlebar Fit For Life), Valerie Jennings (Heaven's Devils), abd Deirdre Walsh (Code Pink Army - That’s So Shelly Fitness).

Relay for Life team captains picture at recent team meeting in Breaffy House: Francis Brogan (Lycra Loonies), Agnes Cox and Janet Durkan (Carpe Diem), Stephanie Reilly and Baby Leah (Team Breege), Eilish Loftus (team chair on relay committee), Siobhan and Kevin Barrett (An Post), Mags Connell (Mayo County Council), Bernie Ginnelly (Ann’s Angels), Bridge Walsh (Walsh’s Way), Marie Callum (Remembering Lorraine - Castlebar Fit For Life), Valerie Jennings (Heaven's Devils), abd Deirdre Walsh (Code Pink Army - That’s So Shelly Fitness).

Relay For Life is a 24 hour event that celebrates the lives of cancer survivors, remembers those lost to the disease, and fights back by raising money to fund vital research and services.

At Relay, teams of family members and friends commit to having at least one member of their team walking around the track at all times. While they are doing that, a festival of fun, entertainment, and community takes place which unites everybody in the fight against cancer. You can join them at any stage and walk three steps, three laps, three hours, or all day. Whatever suits your own desire. The opening ceremony starts at 6pm this Saturday in Breaffy Sports Arena.

The organisers are inviting cancer survivors to open the event, to give hope to others and also enjoy a complementary meal. Cancer survivors open Relay For Life by walking the first lap and showing others that surviving cancer is very real and giving hope to others facing a cancer diagnosis. The walking continues with 17 teams taking it in turns to keep people walking the track for 24 hours.

Lorraine Maloney, survivor chair in the organising committee, said: “Being a part of the committee this year has been very special and I’ve had the chance to listen to some wonderful stories of strength and survivorship. Having sadly been touched in our own family by cancer I understand the importance of fighting back, of the need to raise money to fund vital research for treatments and cure while supporting those in our community affected by the disease. If any survivors would like to attend and inspire others please get in touch this week with me on (087 ) 2814776.

“Cancer can cause pain and heartache for too many people, but it can also inspire people to come together and do some wonderful things and really work together as a community.”

Eilish Loftus, team chair on the committee, has stated that the teams are doing amazing fundraising and are coming up with fun ideas to raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society, from 80s discos to leg waxing, singing and tea parties. Each team will have a stand at Relay and are looking forward to chatting to those who go along to support the event.

The Relay For Life committee, together with its Relay teams, are asking everyone to come out to Breaffy Arena and Celebrate, Fight Back, and Remember and raise vital funds for the Irish Cancer Society. All funds raised through sponsorship and fundraising will go to support the Irish Cancer Society’s vital services, and to support their work in achieving world-class cancer research, ensuring fewer people get cancer and those that do have better outcomes.

The money raised is used to provide quality care and emotional support to people with cancer and their families across Ireland. Last year 82 cancer patients in Mayo received 490 nights of care through the society’s Night Nursing service. This service allows patients at the end of their cancer journey to receive end-of-life care in their own home, surrounded by their loved ones and supported by the home care nursing team. This is the only free, out-of-hours, nursing service available to cancer patients in Ireland. The society's volunteer drivers enabled 365 journeys for 35 cancer patients in Mayo in 2016, easing the burden and stress of travel for patients while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

There are 24 hours of entertainment lined up with the bands playing back to back to keep walkers in good spirits — The Con Artists, Unwritten – Michelle Antonia, Kieran Lenahan, Work in Progress, Damo and Ryo, Niamh and David, Chris and Dave, a traditional band from St Joseph’s Secondary School, Balla National School, dancers, and more. If you would like to be a part of the entertainment call Neil on (087 ) 7646769. Sunday from 1pm there will be a strong emphasis on children’s fun and the organisers ask all children to come along, wearing their favorite jersey for a kids' lap at 1pm.

Go to Breaffy Sports Arena at 6pm on Saturday September 23 or at any other stage over the 24 hours. Attend the Candle of Hope Ceremony at 9pm where you can remember those who we have lost. The organisers will have Candle of Hope bags on sale at the event.

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