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Cancer Research Relay for Life returns, after Covid downturn halves fundraising

Photo John Bugeja

The annual Relay for Life in aid of Cancer Research has returned after a three year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has drastically cut their fundraising efforts.

Chairwoman of the Cancer Research UK (Gibraltar branch), Giovanella Vinales, said the charity was over the moon to bring back the event after a three-year break.

But the break caused by the pandemic had halved the usual amount the charity would fundraise.

“Sadly it has affected the charity tremendously,” Ms Vinales said.

“Our last Relay in 2019 was our biggest Relay ever with recording breaking Survivors, Teams participating and monies raised.”

“Due to the effects of Covid-19, Cancer Research UK has had to cut its research funding by £45 million.”

“This is around half of what the charity would normally expect to be spending at this time, and it means dozens of potential life-saving projects and hundreds of world-class scientists have been left unfunded.”

“It’s devastating that the slowdown in future breakthroughs for people with cancer could seriously reduce the chances of reaching the charity’s goal of 3 in 4 people surviving their cancer by 2034.”

“Gibraltar is renowned for its generosity.”

“For the way people give, and in so many different ways whether it is through the business community, schools or anonymously.”

“Cancer is really something that touches us all so hope we will continue to contribute our little grain of sand to help eradicate this terrible disease from our lives.”

The Relay for Life set to be held on June 3 and 4 at Lathbury Sports Centre, will see cancer survivors and supporters walk the track in aid of vital research.

Chairwoman of the Cancer Research UK (Gibraltar branch), Giovanella Vinales, said the charity was over the moon to bring back the event after a three-year break.

The event will begin on Saturday, June 3, at 11am and the 24 hour relay will end on Sunday, June 4, at 11am.

“It feels awesome to bring back the entire community together to remember loved ones, honour the survivors and raise monies to fund life-saving research,” Ms Vinales said.

“The Relay is a very unique and special event with a very simple meaning: 'Cancer never stops hence the significance of the 24 hours'.”

The Relay will consist of members of different teams walking around the running track over 24 hours.

At least one member from each team must be on the track at any given time throughout the 24 hours of the Relay.

Relay starts at 11am on the Saturday with the Survivors Lap Of Honour.

Following the Lap of Honour, Survivors are invited to a small reception to honour and celebrate their massive achievement.

This opening Survivors Lap of Honour is a celebration of life and a uniquely empowering experience for those currently living with cancer.

Survivors, who wish to do so, can invite one individual who has been key in supporting them throughout their Cancer journey to also join in this Lap of Honour.

The general public is also invited to attend and witness the efforts of all the participants who have committed to walking - or running - around the track over 24 hours.

There will be a full programme of entertainment, which includes music and dance groups.

The Candle of Hope ceremony will be held on the Saturday at approximately 10pm.

Ms Vinales said the plan is to light up dedicated candles.

“This should provide a very emotive atmosphere and will be one of the highlights of the event. Please come and support the participants and the cause,” she said.

Closing Ceremony on Sunday, June 4, will take place at about 10.30am.

“We would ask everyone to join together for a final countdown to 11am to celebrate their fundraising achievements and look back on an unforgettable Relay For Life,” she said.

People still have some time to register as a team until just before the start, even if it’s with a smaller group of people.

“Spectators are most welcome to come along to support the Teams and Survivors taking part,” she sai.d

“If someone is not in a Team and would like to join in by doing a few laps with family and friends they too will be most welcome.”

Ms Vinales added this event is strictly a no smoking and no alcohol event.

“Our message is simply a massive thank you to everyone taking part and supporting Relay For Life Gibraltar as it is thanks to them that this 24 hour event thrives with success,” she said.

For more information and to sign up contact: WhatsApp +350 56331000 or email relayforlifegib@gmail.com

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