Horsham and District Relay for Life to kick off

A RECORD number of teams will join in the fight against cancer at the Horsham and District Relay for Life tonight.

Organisers expect more than 1100 people will walk hundreds of laps to raise money for cancer research.

Publicity officer Rene Vivian said 54 teams had registered this year.

"We have exceeded the previous record by at least eight," she said.

"It's just fantastic because cancer is unfortunately something that is prevalent in the Wimmera.

"The more money we raise for research, the more hope we have for cures.

"Also with the money we raise, the more researchers can concentrate on forgotten cancers such as kidney cancers which are more difficult to find money for."

Last year's relay raised a record $149,230, which took the total amount raised in the past 11 Horsham and District relays to $1,062,898.

Mrs Vivian said there was a possibility of beating the record again this year, given the number of teams.

"We are always grateful for whatever we receive," she said.

The relay starts tonight with an opening ceremony at 5.40pm at Horsham's Coughlin Park and will conclude tomorrow at noon.

Two St Brigid's College students will have their poems read at the opening and closing ceremonies.

The Relay for Life committee invited Wimmera students to enter poems written to the theme 'Why I Relay'.

Horsham's Ashley Hobbs and Anna Bush won the competition.

"If they are comfortable enough to read them, they will, otherwise someone will read for them," Mrs Vivian said.

After the opening ceremony, cancer survivors and carers walk the first lap of the oval.

Pivotal to the relay is the annual candlelight ceremony.

"The candlelight ceremony and the first lap by carers and survivors are the most important parts of the relay," Mrs Vivian said.

"Lots of people find this a healing part of the event."

She said it would be a fabulous weekend.

"There will be a lovely carnival atmosphere," she said. "We encourage teams to wear footy colours at 10am on Saturday for team games."

She said teams were also encouraged to have fundraising activities at their site.

"People have raffles, competitions, produce anything," she said. "Tonight is the Miss Relay competition, and we will find out who is man enough to be Miss Relay.

"Men should don their wife's best dress and handbag and strut their stuff."

Mrs Vivian said the team activities were part of the fun.

"There will also be music and entertainment," she said.

Mrs Vivian said the committee was also urging teams to bring along money to pre-register for the 2015 relay.

The Horsham and District Relay for Life is the only one in the Wimmera.

It has been running since 2001.

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