Reylay for Life 2014

This would be my 11th Relay and stocked up with plenty of sustenance to keep me going over the 24 hours, I was well and truly ready. There were going to be 60 Teams of people, all with the commitment to walk in remembrance of family and friends lost to this disease and celebration of those who had survived. After the Opening Ceremony Brian Mullins as a Cancer sufferer and myself as a Carer had been chosen to cut the ribbon to start the Relay and this was followed by the releasing of doves, always a significant moment. The Survivors and the Carers then walked the first lap together before everyone set off on the long walk.

The weather was great and the Organisers had done a splendid task with music and plenty of entertainment for all ages. There was a tagging system again this year to record each lap, with competition I’m sure amongst the walkers all wanting to record the highest number. As the morning progressed I would have preferred it to be a little cooler but would have to wait until the sun went down. It became obvious I would have to abandon the tagging system as it only worked if one walked in the same direction throughout, and needed to reverse periodically to prevent stiffness of the knees at the end of the Relay.

My friend John Jose had kindly provided me with his caravan which was invaluable during my rest breaks and more so during the night and early hours.

Carla, from my physiotherapist, joined me for quite a while also John Jose, Lesley and his family. At nightfall there was the very moving Hope Ceremony which heralded the long night ahead. Strangely it’s always the time I like the best, there are fewer people walking, it’s pleasantly cool with no distractions and a chance to reflect, with each step becoming more purposeful and meaningful and to remember those loved and lost in the quiet peace of the night.

Dan, from the Gold Company had sent me a text earlier to say he would arrive with friend Gary at around 5 a.m. to join me to walk for a while. He always raises my spirits and gives me renewed energy. During that time we met and talked to Natalie who was feeling the worse for wear but despite this still wished to continue on regardless. This is the true spirit of the Relay and I’m sure that there were others who felt the same. Carla also joined me again in the early hours and we continued on together. Soon it was daylight and the walkers who had rested through the night were returning to finish walking until the end of the Relay.

Finally the closing Ceremony and once again Hawkesbury can be very proud of its great Community spirit. The Teams had clocked up over 5,500 klms overall and that’s not counting those, like myself, whose laps were not recorded. As for the distance that I had covered, it was too difficult to keep track but would equal any of my previous years efforts having walked for at least 12 hours or even more. The target this year was $160.000 and I’m sure it will reach that figure before donations are finalised and closed. The Organisers did a splendid job once again for another successful Relay.

© 2015 by Heather Lee . 


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