TOOMEVARA GAA grounds will once again be the setting for this year’s Tipperary Relay for Life, whic will take place over the weekend of August 25-26.
Last year’s Relay in aid of cancer research raised E112,000 and saw over 1,000 people take part during a 24-hour marathon fundraising effort.
This year’s Relay was launched in the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh, by former Nenagh Ormond, Munster, Leinster and Ireland rugby star Trevor Hogan.
“It is an eye-opener to hear of all the work that has gone on. This is inspirational work and is about a community coming together and fighting back,” he told the packed gathering.
One of the themes of this year’s event is “fighting back”, and Trevor said that, from a sporting point, “you relish the moments of fighting back. Sport has been kind to me. It gave me everything I have. Some of my most treasured moments were in the lesser games when you were written off. That’s when you stick together and fight back,” he said.
“You are not defined by the cups you win but by your spirit when the odds are against you. That’s what makes you.”
Mr Hogan said that cancer was a “hugely daunting challenge” and that those faced with it “face a challenge every day of your life, and not for just 80 minutes on a pitch”.
Earlier, committee member Noreen Kennedy said that the emphasis this year would be on bowel cancer and skin cancer, two forms of the disease that can be hugely influenced by lifestyle.
She said it was estimated that cancers in Ireland would rise by 55 per cent up to the year 2030.
Rose O’Dea, Munster organiser with the Irish Cancer Society, outlined the history of Relay for Life, which began in the US and has now spread worldwide. This year, Ireland will host seven Relays, an increase of three on 2011.
The idea behind Relay for Life is centred around the fact that cancer never sleeps and during the event each team has a member or members walkig the track. One of the highlights is the opening lap when cancer survivors lead the way around, and later in the evening when the Candle of Hope ceremony takes place as dusk falls and those either suffering from cancer or who have died from the disease are honoured. Last year, over 100 survivors took part in the opening lap.
Anybody interested in getting involved or entering a team is encouraged to do so early as places are limited. They can do so by going to www.relayforlife.ie or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org