Fundraiser dear to Andrea’s heart

Preparing for next month’s Queenstown Relay for Life are, from left, Cancer Society’s Donz Milne,...
Preparing for next month’s Queenstown Relay for Life are, from left, Cancer Society’s Donz Milne, Mitre 10 Mega’s Toni Boatwright and ambassador Andrea Balona. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Local Andrea Balona is happy to be ambassador for the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life fundraiser in Queenstown next month given the vital role it performed during her long cancer journey.

Following her breast cancer diagnosis in December 2018, she spent most of the following year going through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hormone suppressants till she was cleared.

The 47-year-old likens news of her diagnosis to planning for a funeral.

"You don’t know what to do until you’re forced into that position.

"You’re not feeling organised so to have that guidance from the Cancer Society is amazing.

"They were calm and caring and they just explained everything and made it less scary.

"I was also really worried about my family, and they offered them so much support."

Balona — whose commitment to giving back showed in 2020 when she started QT Community Cats, promoting wellbeing through therapy programmes with cats — also participated in the Cancer Society’s last local Relay for Life.

That was in 2019 after she’d just had surgery — she came and went during the 24-relay along with her hubby and three children.

This year’s 12-hour relay, also around the Lake Hayes showgrounds, takes place on March 16 from 10am till 10pm.

Cancer Society regional event specialist Donz Milne is hoping to enlist 52 teams of between four and 10 to meet their fundraising target of $130,000.

Meanwhile, Mitre 10 Mega Queenstown’s again the naming sponsor.

"We believe strongly in investing in and bringing our local community together for a good cause — and this event certainly fits our criteria," marketing and promotions manager Toni Boatwright says.

"Many of our team have a connection to someone affected by cancer — if we can assist the Cancer Society to make a difference for these people, it’s an obvious partnership."

To register for the relay, visit