Early estimates are that the weekend’s Relay for Life has raised at least $25,000 to help the Cancer Council continue its work.
Entertainment, laughter and moving tributes to those lost were all part of the weekend as more than 350 people joined the 18-hour walk around South Circle Oval and Lake Forbes.
Saturday afternoon’s fun included dance and music performances, performing pony and pup, tug-o-war and colour fight.
But as the sun went down, the focus turned to the very serious reason for the Relay.
Locals spoke of how cancer had touched their families as lights flickered around the oval in “hope” bags.
Emily Smith spoke of her work as a social worker at the Centre for Children’s Cancers and Blood Disorders at Sydney Children’s Hospital, her mum’s cancer survivorship and the loss of her father.
At the Children’s Hospital Emily saw the support for families far from home, the research into treatments and to reduce side-effects, the fight to find a cure.
“All of this was made possible with funds from events like tonight,” she said.
But cancer also touched her own family, including both her parents. Her dad passed away last year.
“Des’s journey is evidence of the ongoing need to find a cure, to continue to research effective treatments and mostly importantly to support cancer sufferers and their families to continue the war,” Emily said.
“I’m sure if he was here tonight that he would shake your hand and say thank you – as I do – for your contribution to the fight.”
Kathy Garland, whose daughter Ava has had treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, spoke of the potentially devastating short and long term effects of cancer treatment on children.
She added that during and since their time at Westmead, more than 10 young people including Forbes’ beautiful Danielle Mason had passed away.
“Advances in treatment resulting from research which will be funded from events like today have come a long way, however the treatment is still very toxic,” Kathy said.
“They are sicker than anyone should ever be. We need to cure this dreadful disease so no more people suffer.”
You can still go online to fundraising.cancer.org.au/forbes2018 to donate.