Relay for Life surpasses all expectations by raising €20,000 for the Irish Cancer Society

By Amy Lewis

Published 15/10/2016 | 00:00

Organisers and participants of Relay for Life Wexford present the cheque for €20,000 to Eileen Kearney of the Irish Cancer Society.
Organisers and participants of Relay for Life Wexford present the cheque for €20,000 to Eileen Kearney of the Irish Cancer Society.

A whopping €20,000 was presented to the Irish Cancer Society last week as a result of this year's Relay For Life event.

Participants in the 24-hour event teamed up once more in Clayton Whites Hotel to celebrate the success that they had in August.

A cheque was presented to Eileen Kearney from the Irish Cancer Society, officially marking the end of the group's fundraising efforts.

'We've known for the last while how much had come in but we were trying to keep it secret,' said PR Manager of the Wexford Relay for Life Julie Dowdall. 'But from the very start, we had no idea how much we had raised. We said that we would be happy with €5,000 and then, as we counted, we reached €15,000 and then €17,000. It was so overwhelming.'

'I have goose bumps right now even talking about raising the €20,000.'

Last week's cheque presentation made it all worthwhile for the hardworking committee and the relay participants, as Eileen of the Irish Cancer Society thanked them for their participation.

'Eileen stood up and told us all that they money is going to help a huge amount of people. It really hit home then,' said Julie.

Relay for Life is a national initiative aimed at celebrating the lives of cancer survivors and remembering those who have been lost. The Wexford event was established thanks to a committee of eight people and the support of individuals and groups. Many of the relay teams organised events in the run up to the big day in an effort to raise additional money.

'Relay for Life Wexford was so much more than a fundraising effort. It was an event that brought our community here in Wexford together to celebrate, remember and fight back. Family, friends and in some cases, even strangers registered on teams and walked together in solidarity with those who have been touched by cancer. Survivors were also an integral part of the event, opening the Relay wearing purple, the colour for hope,' she said.

The event itself asked teams of people to get on their feet to help to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society. People from across the county and beyond stood up and listened. Eighteen teams, including 70 survivors, walked through light and darkness in Pairc Charman, while hundreds more lined the pitch to cheer them on.

'Relay was a weekend full of emotions, but one of the highlight of the 24 hours was the beautiful Candle of Hope Ceremony that took place just as darkness fell. The Candle of Hope allowed the community to remember those who are no longer with us, to hope for those still battling and to be thankful for those who are surviving. It was a beautiful part of Relay that was dignified, full of hope and even facilitated an element of healing for those who were there,' said Gay.

Owing to the success of this year's event, the committee are planning to bring it back to Wexford in 2017 and hope to double the support.

'We are sticking with the same committee but we are also going to have sub committees,' explained Julie. 'All of us have fulltime jobs so it is difficult to organise the event in a few months.'

'We will have a break now until after Christmas and then we will begin to get organised.'

Wexford People

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