Eastbourne cancer group raises £24k in 'Relay for Life'

A group of 30 people took to Eastbourne seafront at the weekend for the 'Relay for Life' (RFL).

The team completed a 10k walk on Saturday (June 18) – starting at Helen Gardens, heading to Sovereign Leisure Centre, and then back again – all to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

RFL started in 1985 in America by a cancer survivor called Dr Gordon Klatt who decided to walk around a track at a university for 24 hours. He was able to raise £27,000 for the America Cancer Society.

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The event grew from there and now around four million people take part in 26 countries.

Eastbourne cancer group raises £24k in 'Relay for Life' (photo by Lily Ferguson)

To celebrate raising more than £24,000, the teams in Eastbourne came together for the walk on Saturday.

Nora Ferguson, chair of Eastbourne's RFL committee, said, “Many of our relayers who walked on Saturday have been affected by cancer in some way. Some were walking as they have had cancer; others were walking in honour of a loved one who passed away from cancer or are fighting cancer and others wanted to spread awareness and raise funds.”

Julian's story

In the late 1990s Julian noticed something wrong with his testicles but he said 'being a typical bloke', waited three months to see a doctor.

Eastbourne cancer group raises £24k in 'Relay for Life' (photo from Lily Ferguson)

Eventually he saw a surgeon and he was rushed into surgery the next day.

Julian said, “It was a bit of a shock as I didn't expect for things to move along so quickly.”

When he came out of the operation he said, “It hit me that I had cancer, after being told that I had a testicle removed.”

What followed was a period of looking up treatment plans which ended up being radiotherapy, blood tests, and regular checks.

He said, “After five years of check ups and blood tests I got the all clear. That was a good day for me, as it confirmed what I already knew, that I was cancer free.”

Now Julian is involved with RFL. He said, “I can give something back for the treatment I went through, to help others win their battle, to helping someone on the day by just talking to them and letting them know they are not alone with what ever type of cancer they have.”

Ms Ferguson said, “We had a fantastic few hours together. Despite the wind, the walk was brilliant, and the community of Eastbourne were kind and welcoming.

“We ended the day by lighting some candle bags in honour of those fighting or have passed from cancer. Some poems and messages of hope were read.”

Ms Ferguson said she got involved when she lost a close relative to cancer.

She said, “Eight years on as a volunteer with Cancer Research UK, I am truly humbled by the people I have met along the way who are eager to share their personal cancer story with me.

“It's empowering to know that an event like RFL can bring togetherness, raise awareness and impact the development of research and funds.

“As a small but growing group of Eastbourne volunteers our aim is to continue to organise events throughout the year, raise awareness and hopefully put together a bespoke relay event sometime next summer!”

To find out more email [email protected] or head to the Facebook / Instagram page for the group

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