|Three quarters of Joie de Vivre|
Last weekend, some friends and I particiapted in the Central Otago Relay for Life. It's a 24hr event, in support of the Cancer Society of New Zealand, where each team is given a wooden baton, which has to circle the course (about a 600m grass track) for the entire 24 hours. There are certain specific points (for example, the first lap is for cancer survivors and their carers, and there is a candlelit vigil at 9pm whereby we remember those who have died from the disease) but for the rest of time, you can organise your team in any way you wish.
We were called Joie de Vivre as a positive note. All of us have been touched by cancer and had friends and family succumb to it, so we wanted to do something to commemorate them. The theme of this year's relay was 'Celebrate; Remember; Fight Back!' Members of the team were encouraged to fundraise and all the money was banked by the Cancer Society, to stay in the region in which it was raised. The Central Otago section had raised $130,000 at the close of the day, although more was expected over the next couple of days.
|Before the start we practice our Angelina Jolie legs and pouts|
|Him Outdoors in a not entirely appropriate T-shirt|
|What would you say to a nice cup of tea?|
|Cheesy tartlets (and some rather nice baking - Ha!)|
|We are being sun smart - as demonstrated by the Fudge Princess|
|Maybe not so much of the smart...|
|The Wee Red Hen models her St Patrick's Day hat|
|Waiting at the start - look how eager!|
|Howdy Neighbour is raring to go|
Apparently there were prizes for the best-dressed team. I don't know who won, but there were contenders with green tinsel St Pat's wigs, angel wings, steam-punk paraphenalia, and pink hula skirts.
The speech at the beginning of the relay was inspiring and emotional, and then the survivors began their first lap with purple sashes and balloons. Him Outdoors said the number of balloons was scary, but I could only think of those who hadn't made it and didn't get to carry a balloon.
To begin with we had much enthusiasm and several of us walked several laps together - I even did my allocated 15min jog. As the day wore on, we made up a roster, with half hour shifts. This meant we only got a few hours of sleep during the night, but it was hard to sleep anyway as there was a lot of noise and light.
The Dairy Queen was in hot contention for top team member - she made cups of tea in the morning, and massaged our feet as we finished each lap.
|Sensory overload - the Wee Red Hen is massaged at both ends!|
You could buy bags on which to write people's names and put candles (actually battery-operated tealights) inside so they glowed. Placed around the perimeter of the track, they lit the way and offered a permanent reminder of why we were stumbling around at 3am. Later they are taken and burnt, and the ashes planted beneath a tree in remembrance of those we have lost.
|Dawn breaks above the Cancer Society tent|
It doesn't take much loss of sleep to make me hallucinate. I thought I saw Him Outdoors hugging a lion, and a very tall angel with a very small head.
Breakfast was provided, and various bands and a DJ kept us entertained throughout the 24 hours.
During the last half hour, all the team members were encouraged to walk together, and it got busy on the track again.
|Team Joie de Vivre at the finish|