Bordertown Relay For Life committee member Paula Blackwell will be participating in her third 'Relay for Life' this year in support of her mum and all those impacted by cancer in her community.
Paula took part in her first relay in 2013 with her young family to support her mum, Denise Ciampa, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2007.
"Our family and small community has had various family members and friends who have both passed and survived cancer, but it was my mum's diagnosis, four days after my sister's wedding in 2007 that shook our whole family," Paula said.
"We've seen first-hand the amazing work that Cancer Council SA does, and after being on the receiving end of this vital assistance, I felt we had no choice but to give back to help others."
Paula has been supporting the event ever since, and in 2017, together with her mum, started team CURE (Courage, Understanding, Resilience and Encouragement). They are back again this year, with Paula and her mum leading the charge.
"I'm team leader for CURE in addition to being on the organising committee," Paula said. "This year's relay focus is 'raising funds and awareness to help our community'. And we've got a number of fresh ideas to get the whole community involved."
Paula said for many in the local community, Cancer Council has been a lifeline when they've needed it most.
"As we live a three hour drive from Adelaide, and five hour drive from Melbourne, we don't have immediate access to vital treatment for cancer patients," Paula said.
"This means that the result of a cancer diagnosis can put additional financial and emotional strain on families within our community.
"Not only do they have to come to terms with a diagnosis and treatment options, but people are also are faced with the reality of being away from their loved ones, trying to find accommodation, maintaining two houses and coordinating travel.
"Cancer Council's vital accommodation support for families during such a traumatic time is so important, and something that our whole community really does benefit from."
This year, the committee is hoping to see 15 teams take part in the relay and is aiming to raise over $30,000.
"Most of us have family or friends who have been affected by cancer, so I'm encouraging the community to do our best to come together and raise funds to help those undergoing treatment," Paula said.
"The funds raised at the Bordertown relay will go towards helping country people like us who are undergoing diagnosis and treatment in the city and need accommodation and support for themselves and their families."
Paula said the event promised to be filled with fun, entertainment and activities, while also remembering the lives of those lost.
"It's such an amazing atmosphere, seeing the whole community come together to dress up, have fun, play games, share stories and shed a tear.
"I always find the opening ceremony incredibly moving - seeing my parents walk the first lap, hand in hand, being incredibly grateful that mum's still here, is so powerful. It really does bring home just how important the event is."
Registrations for the Bordertown Relay For Life are now open, with the Bordertown Relay For Life information session on Wednesday, August 7.
Event details - Bordertown Relay For Life information session
When: Wednesday, August 7 at 6.30pm
Where: Bordertown Hotel
For More information: contact Cancer Council on 1300 65 65 85
Event Details - Bordertown Relay For Life
When: Saturday, November 23 to Sunday, November 24
Where: Bordertown Football Oval
Register: Via the website at www.relayforlife.com.au and search for 'Bordertown'