On Saturday the 19th of March 2022, the AMC Pawsitivity Warriors, a team consisting of 8 staff members from the Animal Medical Centre, as well as another 8 family members, ranging from 6 through to 53 years of age, participated in the Launceston Relay for Life (COVID unfortunately reared its head for 2 of our team who had to pull out last minute). The event was held at the St Leonards athletics track from 1pm on the Saturday, all the way through the night and concluding at 9am Sunday morning. The team walked and jogged a recorded 987 laps of the 400m track, clocking up at least 394.8km collectively, however we suspect the actual number of laps was well over 1,000. The purpose of course was to raise some much-needed funds to go to the Cancer Council, an organisation that provides such a vital service to those in our community suffering from cancer. The importance of organisations such as the Cancer Council has proven itself to us at the Animal Medical Centre as even more important than ever over these last few months, after our own fabulous Dr Stephanie Tickle was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive type of breast cancer. Together our team, with the support of family, friends and clients, raised just over $4,000 which will go directly to the Cancer Council and assist families like Dr Steph’s navigate through this new and scary time of their lives.
The weather on Saturday was beautiful. If anything, it may have been a degree or two TOO warm, but we all were sun smart and well hydrated, and hit the track as soon as the first lap (reserved for survivors and carers only) had finished. We had hoped to have someone on the track at all times for the entirety of the 20 hours, but unfortunately Connor, who had offered to do the night shift, managed to severely injure his ankle during a netball game on the Wednesday night prior, and our other team members needed to get some rest between the hours of around 1am to 5am. There was live music throughout the day until 11pm to keep us motivated around the track, and a candlelight vigil at 8pm to remember those we have lost which was incredibly moving. Dr Steph herself popped into our site twice to say hello, and I wish now I had grabbed a photo while she was there. Due to her ongoing treatment she was unable to participate on the track, but her presence was a brilliant motivator, and she has promised to participate next year when she will be classed as a survivor!
Sunday morning saw a bleary eyed and tired team with sore feet hit the track again with coffees in hand for some more laps before the closing ceremony at 9am. A quick pack up, which involved the help of event organisers and their vehicles to get the gazebo, tent, swags, chairs and the rest of the gear off the oval, and we were all on our way home for hot showers and a nap on the couch, dreaming of how we can make it an even better event for next year.
Our Dr Steph may have been the catalyst for the creation of our team, but as is the nature of cancer, we all relayed for so many other loved ones in our lives who have suffered from the disease. When campaigning for our fundraising efforts, I spoke with my mum about our family members who have faced cancer, some of which did not make it to survivor status. She reminded me that she herself is a cancer survivor from some 30 years ago, however her story is much different in the fact the disease was kept quiet, swept under the rug, and she received next to no support. She fortunately did not have to take the chemotherapy/ radiation route, however the fact she had no support is so very heartbreaking. Thank goodness that is rarely the case now, thanks to the tireless efforts of organisations like the Cancer Council. So for me, I relayed for Steph, for my Mum, for both my grandmothers (lung cancer, and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma), for my great grandmother (bowel cancer), for my aunts and uncles (breast, prostrate, brain and lung cancers), and for my friends (breast, and bowel cancers). We relayed for Connor’s mum who passed from cancer during the height of COVID. We relayed for Rob’s aunty. We relayed for so many others we hold dear to our hearts, and we thank from the deepest corners of our hearts and souls all of those who donated and supported us for our Relay for Life.
Written by Bec Stokes