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Heroes out in force for this year’s Relay for Life

Bundaberg Christian College Relay for Life Superhero team's Alison Petersen, Stephanie Newton, Lynn Howkins, Leisa McKim, Erin Ramsay, Kelli Ussher, Catie Howkins, Peter Sercombe and Gabrielle Cornelissen.

More than 600 participants joined forces today to walk for nine hours in this year‘s Bundaberg Fraser Coast Relay for Life to help fight cancer.

Superheroes was the theme at Bundaberg Fraser Coast Relay for Life 2021 and every individual’s goal was to help beat cancer, no matter what costume they assumed.

It was this goal, along with the teamwork and mateship, that helped the community event raise more than $70,000 before the 65 teams started lapping the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct grounds.

Young cancer survivor Maddison Challen didn’t leave much of a dry eye in the audience, as she opened the ceremony.

“Each and every step we take, everyone gets us closer to our goal,” Maddison said.

“The goal of a cancer free world for future generations.”

Maddison was diagnosed with soft tissue cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma, at the age of four, and has now been cancer free for the past two years.

Bundaberg Fraser Coast Relay for Life
Young cancer survivor Maddison Challen, with her brother Andrew, chat with Mayor Jack Dempsey about taking part in this year's Relay for Life.

Maddison’s mum Vanessa said she was extremely proud of Maddison for taking to the stage with such strength to open such an important community event, that was helping to put an end to cancer.

“She loves doing ambassador work, and we hope to each the point one day when cancer no longer exists.”

Every year during Relay for Life, Bundaberg’s Lyn Carpenter shaves her head in hopes to raise not only funds to put an end to cancer, but for awareness for those who ask about it in the future.

This year, as Lyn’s hairdresser was not able to make it, an auction to do the deed and shave Lyn’s head was set.

Winning the last-minute auction with the highest bid of $110 was Shalom College’s Bianca Matthews.

Bundaberg Fraser Coast Relay for Life
Shalom College student Bianca Matthews donated $110 in order to help Lyn Carpenter shave her head, she was assisted by Tash Schwehla.

Bianca said she was part of one of the Shalom teams taking part in this year’s Bundaberg Fraser Coast Relay for Life and thought it would be a good opportunity to help raise more money.

Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said it was terrific to watch the community walk together at this year’s Relay for Life.

“It’s fantastic to see so much of the community here for Relay for Life, especially for the survivors and their families who are here today; there’s not one person here without a smile.

“Everyone here is in the spirit of love, hope and faith and it’s just wonderful.

“A big thank you to everyone who supported Relay for Life, from the volunteers right through to those who donated.”

Sharon State School teachers entered Relay for Life as a team for the first time, and they said it was an event likely to be added to the annual calendar from now on.

Year 5-6 teacher Tanya Sly said she had personally taken part in two previous Relay for Life events, and it was the perfect opportunity for schools around the region to get behind a good cause.

“Our families, and all the kids, were helping with our fundraising over the last few months,” she said.

Bundaberg Fraser Coast Relay for Life
Sharon State School teammates Janette Puie, Wendy Searle, Sue Arkell, Tanya Sly, Sharon Stapleton and Michelle Lester at this year's Bundaberg Fraser Coast Relay for Life.

“We did a hot dog day and a pizza day, which both raised money to help go toward our initial target of $1000, but we have actually gone over that now. So, we are really pleased and it’s great to be here today.”

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