Relay pays tribute to those lost to cancer
ABOUT 850 candles flickered to life on Saturday night in a moving ceremony as Bundaberg locals remembered loved ones lost to cancer.
The ceremony was part of Cancer Council's annual Relay for Life - an overnight, community event for thousands of Australians who relay non-stop as they celebrate cancer survivors, remember those lost, and fight back against the disease by raising important funds.
As the flames burned bright, so did the spirit of all those involved.
Bundaberg Relay for Life committee chairman Greg Bath hailed it as a tremendous success.
"It was our biggest turnout yet and we had about 850 participants in the relay and about 150 people coming for the candlelight ceemony," he said.
Now in its 10th year, the overnight event began on Saturday afternoon with an opening ceremony attended by Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman and Cancer Council Queensland CEO professor Jeff Dunn.
"Then the candlelight ceremony begins with all the participants issued with white paper bag called a 'hope bag'," Mr Bath said.
"Inside is a special candle and they write messages to the loved ones they have lost and carry the bag with them for one lap.
"Once the candle is lit it gives off a beautiful white glow."
The final part of the event, called the Fight Back Ceremony, was held yesterday morning, where participants were able to make pledges to fight cancer or improve their lifestyles.
"Some people pledged to stop smoking or to exercise more," he said.
"There was a young girl from America who was so impressed with the relay she pledged to take the event to her own community back home.""We had the Cancer Council state manager here who said out of all the relays she goes to, she had never seen a relay that had connected with the community like this one."