Relay ready to unfold at new home

Relay For Life organiser Donna Milne at the event in  Queenstown  last month. PHOTO: OLIVIA JUDD
Relay For Life organiser Donna Milne at the event in Queenstown last month. PHOTO: OLIVIA JUDD
Lace up your running shoes and get ready to pass the baton — the Southland Relay For Life is making a triumphant return today.

The Cancer Society’s revival of the community event will see it unfold at its new home at Stadium Southland.

The last successful Relay For Life event in the deep south was at Rugby Park in 2018.

Cancer Society events specialist Donna Milne said with no government funding, the local community played a pivotal role in sustaining this vital cause.

"Relay For Life is not just an event; it’s a beacon of hope," she said.

"The funds raised will empower the Cancer Society to provide crucial accommodation and transport to cancer patients and their families, contribute to research, and offer essential practical and emotional support services to those affected by cancer."

Southland entertainer Steve Broad will MC the event.

He said the relay made a huge difference to the community and he was excited to be a part of bringing the event back to the south.

Relay For Life Southland 2024 ambassador, former Olympian Glenn McLeay, has experienced the challenges of cancer and was committed to supporting the Cancer Society’s mission.

"The biggest support for me was that my wife Jodi found someone with experience touching base with offers of support on a regular basis.

"She found that navigating cancer was not easy when you have never experienced a life-threatening illness and while we didn’t fully utilise everything that was offered, it was great to know it was there."

Southern bands and musicians have donated their time to entertain the expectant crowds at the Relay For Life.

Music organiser Chris Chilton said he was blown away by the overwhelming positive response from the music community and guests would get "12 hours of absolutely awesome entertainment".

Cancer Society Southland’s fundraising target is set at $130,000, marking the event’s inaugural venture within the stadium walls.

"Embark on this transformative journey with us and make a remarkable difference in the lives of those affected by cancer in our community," Ms Milne said.

The 12-hour event will take place from 10am-10pm today.