HORSHAM woman Maria Marchesini likes to fly under the radar.
But at Relay For Life on Friday she was the centre of attention as she cut the ribbon to signal the start of the 2017 event.
Ms Marchesini said she had been involved in Relay for Life since day dot.
“I work at Coles and was involved in the store’s team for many years,” she said.
“For the last few years, we’ve participated in relay as a family.
“Relay For Life brings people together for a good cause.
“We’ve all been touched by cancer in some way or another, so it’s important to do something for the community and hopefully one day there will be a cure.”
Ms Marchesini’s mum has had non-Hodgkin lymphoma for the past 24 years.
“It’s a long time,” Ms Marchesini said.
“She is 89 and she’s still going well, but it’s recently come back again, so we are going through that patch at the moment.”
After years of caring for her mum, Ms Marchesini also experienced cancer first-hand last year.
“I was diagnosed in June with thyroid cancer,” she said.
“I’ve had a few operations and I had radiation in September.
“The type of cancer I have, they can get rid of it – but I have been touched too.
“When people found out, they said it shouldn’t have happened to me.
“It goes to show that cancer doesn’t pin-point people and we are all never too far away from it.”
Ms Marchesini has great respect for the doctors and nurses who care for people with cancer.
“Over the years of travelling up and down the highway, first with Mum and them for myself, it made me realise what dedicated people there are out there who help out,” she said.
Ms Marchesini said being this year’s ribbon cutter took some convincing.
“I was approached at a party and asked to do it,” she said.
“I was beside myself and had to think about it.
“It was only when I was at a meeting last month that I finally agreed to do it.”
Ms Marchesini encouraged more people to get involved in Relay For Life.
“It’s good for the town and good for the community,” she said.
“People need to come along and see what it’s all about – it would be fantastic to have more teams.”
Ms Marchesini said it was great to see people supporting the event each year.
“People have been very supportive of the new cancer centre too,” she said.
“If everyone got behind this cause and did a little bit, the world would be a much better place.”
Ms Marchesini and her family sold homemade cakes and jams at relay on Friday.