Updated 11.40am: The 2020 Horsham and District Relay for Life has been cancelled, along with all others first round events in Victoria, organisers say.
In a statement on social media on Friday, chairmanager Kingsley Dalgleish said he had been notified by Cancer Council Victoria the event would not go ahead, "due to the risk of infection for those undergoing treatment for cancer-related illness".
The event had been scheduled to take place at Horsham's Coughlin Park from 5.40pm on Friday until Saturday. As of Friday morning, residents had donated more than half of the event's $85,000 fundraising goal.
Mr Dalgleish said he expected the funds raised so far would still be given to the Cancer Council.
"We were aware they were monitoring the situation and knew last night at that stage it was still going ahead and they met all day yesterday and they have had an early hours meeting on Friday morning and that is when the decision has been made," he told the Mail-Times.
Mr Dalgleish said 20 teams and around 250 participants had registered to be part of the 2020 event.
"I don't know that it will (be rescheduled)," he said. "There is a fair amount of planning that needs to go into it, so to try and scheduled something for later this year and to back it up again in March next year will probably be (too hard). We will start planning next month to be ready for 2021.
"Teams can still bank money for up to a month after an event, and if anybody does want to make donations who is not part of a team they can go into Horsham library."
Cancer Council Victoria chief executive Todd Harper said the decision was in the best interests of the community.
"Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our volunteers, staff and supporters," he said. "You are our most precious asset and we want to look after you.
"Given the high risk to public health currently posed by COVID-19, and keeping in mind that many who attend our events are in a higher risk group, we know the decision to cancel Relay events is in the best interests of our community.
"We thank you so much for your fundraising and planning efforts for these events so far, we are extremely grateful to you."
Mr Harper encouraged those involved with the event to contact the Cancer Council's Supporter Care team on 1800 65 65 85 if they have any questions.
Relay for Life events celebrates survivors and recognise their carers. Teams commit to walking, rolling or running around a track to raise funds to support people affected by cancer, fund research and prevention programs.
The Horsham event has taken place since 2001.
More to come.
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