Leon Tunney-Ware, multi award-winning business owner, musican Chris Haze, international popstar Lydia Ford, cancer survivor Paul Coghlan and Cllr Peter Flynn, gathered recently in Westport Town Hall to call on the local community to come together to host an exciting new charity event in Westport; Relay For Life.
Relay For Life is the biggest cancer initiative in the world. It sees local communities coming together to celebrate cancer survivors, remember those we have lost and to fight back against cancer by raising awareness of the services provided by the Irish Cancer Society locally and nationally.
There are currently 12 Relay For Life events organised throughout Ireland. Each event,attended by hundreds of locals, takes place over a day in one location and sees teams of families and friends show their support for cancer survivors and allows them time and space to remember their loved ones. There is a fun festival atmosphere for all the family with food and games and the day builds up to a powerful Candle of Hope ceremony at nightfall.
Paul Coghlan, a cancer survivor from Westport, Mayo and former Relay For Life team member said: “Relay For Life is one of the most fun, humbling and emotional experiences I’ve ever had. I was told I had less than a 10% chance of survival when I was diagnosed with cancer. I’m now in remission, and its initiatives like Relay For Life I have to thank for that. I’m living proofthat change is achievable, Relay For life makes a difference. Come get involved, it’ll be the best decision you’ll ever make.”
Last year over 620 survivors were celebrated at Relay For Life events around the country,while thousands of people were remembered at the special Candle of Hope ceremonies.The events also help raise awareness of services available by the Irish Cancer Society,ways of reducing risk of cancer, and how people can help fund crucial supports and research.
Mark Mellett, Head of Fundraising for the Irish Cancer Society said:“Each year in Mayo, over 1,000 people will hear the words ‘you have cancer,’ but Ireland is brimming with people in every community who can help make a difference. These individuals can make a huge change to the cancer experience in their local community by organising a Relay For Life.”
Each Relay For Life event is organised by a dedicated local volunteer committee, supported by the Irish Cancer Society. Anyone is welcome to get involved in Relay For Life. The Irish Cancer Society is urging the Westport community to come together and learn how they can get involved. For more information on Relay For Life events in Ireland, or to start one in your community, see www.cancer.ie/relayforlife
March 2 2020; This article was edited to correct who was in attendance at the launch.