Posts Tagged ‘relay for life’

Relay For Life 2013 – and remembering Susan

February 6, 2013

A year ago on this day, 6 February, my good friend Susan Niebur (WhyMommy) died of inflammatory breast cancer.

Susan Niebur, 1972 - 2012 (photo credit: Kristen, @mommy4cocktails)

Susan Niebur, 1972 – 2012 (photo credit: Kristen, @mommy4cocktails)

Since then, another friend, Jenny, a fellow New Zealander whom I had “met” online through Susan, also died of inflammatory breast cancer.

My own family has also been touched – no, not touched, smashed into – by cancer.  Cancer doesn’t visit lightly.

As you may know, for the past couple of years Pearl and I have taken part in the local Relay For Life to raise funds for the NZ Cancer Society.  We can’t run this year, but we are still supporting the Relay.  My sister – The Fabulous Auntie B – and her children are still managing a team.  We will help them raise funds and cheer them on from the sidelines in March during the event.

I hope you will continue to support Relay – whether it’s our team in our event, or another team, or your local event – in whatever way possible.  If you know me in real life and would like to donate to our team, please contact me for details.

If you don’t know me in real life but would still like to donate – hooray! Please go to the Relay For Life website and donate to any team you like.  Or find your own local Relay For Life or Cancer Society webpage and donate there instead.  The important thing is to help these societies support people with cancer and their families.

Celebrate – Remember – Fight Back!

For Susan, for her family – Curt, Widget, Little Bear.  For her friends, too many to number here, but including Marty, Stimey, Kristen, Jessica, Kelley.

For Jenny, and her family and friends.

For my family.

For your family.

For ourselves, should we ever need it – they’ll be there.

© UpsideBackwards 2013.

Relay for Life 2012

April 1, 2012


Last night, Pearl and I slept rough in a local park.  Although, to be truthful, there was very little sleeping.  There was quite a lot of walking, and some running.  Pearl was very excited to be up and on the Relay track at midnight, walking with her cousin and young friends.  We each did our assigned three 30-minute shifts, and walked alongside our team-mates at various other times as well.  There’s something very special about walking the track with friends in the small hours of the morning, looking up at the stars, chatting, listening to the music.

Pearl & her cousin run a lap in the Relay For Life 2012

We decorated candle bags in memory of family and friends, and stood sombrely with all the other relayers during the touching memorial service.

Candle Bags

There were 13 hearts on my bag this year, 13 precious people to remember. That's two more than last year, and thirteen too many to have lost.

Our team had set a fundraising goal of $200 per team member.  Thanks to family, friends, Pearl’s badge sales, and my sweet-toothed colleagues who ate as much white-chocolate fudge as I could provide them with at $2 per bag, the two of us raised over $570 – thank you, everyone!  That money will help the NZ Cancer Society to:

  •  provide people affected with cancer with important support and resources
  •  fund the volunteer driving service (free service to those undergoing cancer treatment – they are picked up by volunteer drivers, taken to their appointments and the volunteers wait for them and take them home again)
  • operate the free phone line 0800CANCER – any cancer any question
  • offer counselling and support to people with cancer and their caregivers
  • help make schools SunSmart and work towards a smokefree NZ
  • support people with their accommodation when they have to travel for treatment
  • fund vital cancer research into the causes and treatments of cancer

(Info above provided by the NZ Cancer Society).

You can still donate here.  If you know our names in real life, sponsor us! If not, sponsor anyone, make their day!

Of course, Relay is not all sombre.  Far from it!  There were laughs and hijinks, entertainment and giveaways, impromptu performances and some truly execrable karaoke about 1am.  There were free massages provided, and a very welcome hot breakfast served by volunteers.

We came home exhausted, footsore, chilled, and feeling a bit grimy… and well aware that anyone undergoing cancer treatment feels a whole lot worse, for a whole lot longer.  But we’re also proud of ourselves and our team, and grateful for the support of friends, family – and blog readers! – for such a great cause.

Susan remembered on the big screen at Relay For Life 2012.

© UpsideBackwards 2012.


February 12, 2012

It was our annual village summer festival market day today, and Pearl joined a couple of her friends in setting up a stall.

Pearl at her stall

For the past couple of weeks we have been hard at work making felt badges for her to sell.  She has spent her evenings designing them, cutting out felt and applying glitter glue, and I have done lots of hot glueing.

This morning we went down to the park and helped set up, then she spent most of the next six hours attending the stall.  It was a long, hot, thirsty day.  She sold just under 20 badges.  A portion of her proceeds will go to the SPCA, and 50% to the Relay for Life as well.  (She didn’t sell enough to cover the costs of making them all, but since it’s for charity I will donate the materials).

I think she is quite disappointed she didn’t manage to sell more and raise more money – it was a lot of work and a very long day for relatively little return – but hopefully we will be able to sell more badges elsewhere (let me know if you want one!).  She has learnt that fundraising can be hard work, but also a bit about handling money and customers, keeping track of sales, and taking pride in your work.



© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Relay for Life 2012

January 29, 2012

We’re doing it again.  Pearl and I will run (walk) in our local Relay For Life event on 31 March this year.

The funds we raise will go to the NZ Cancer Society, to support cancer patients, survivors, and their families.

If you know us, and would like to sponsor us, you can donate here: Relay For Life.  If you don’t know us but would still like to donate, feel free!  Where it says “choose a team”, just pick one you like the sound of – the donations all go to the same place and that’s the important thing.

Other things you can do:

– join a team in your local relay – it’s a world-wide effort

– donate to your local Cancer Society

– think of a friend who has been touched by cancer (everyone knows someone), and send them a card telling them you love them.

This is a cause dear to my heart, and I’ll be blogging about it a bit in the coming months.

Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back!

© UpsideBackwards 2012.

Relay For Life 2011

March 28, 2011

On Saturday night The Dad, Pearl and I joined our local Relay For Life in a sponsored run/walk over 17 hours to raise money for the Cancer Society of New Zealand.  Our team of mostly young people and children raised over $3000, so we are very proud of our efforts – and very grateful to everyone who sponsored us and supported us.  Thank you!

We arrived mid-afternoon, just in time to drop our bags in the beautifully-decorated marquee (well done Auntie B!) and head to the opening ceremony.  Then there was a Survivors’ Lap, and all participants followed for a starting lap.  After that, we took turns to carry a baton around and around and around until 9 o’clock on Sunday morning.

The Dad and Pearl had a couple of turns fairly early on, so that they could go home and sleep.  Unfortunately, they were the ones on the track during a torrential downpour!  Pearl didn’t really mind.

The rain turned the ground to mud – the track was asphalt, but the tents were pitched on the park – and continued long enough to make cooking slightly problematic.

Steamed sausage, anyone?

At 8:30pm there was a candle ceremony.  Anyone could purchase a paper bag from the Cancer Society and decorate it in memory of someone who had died of cancer.  Hundreds of these bags, with battery-operated candles inside, glowed in the covered carpark (moved there because of the rain) and a brief memorial service was held.  It was very moving and emotional.  Our bags were dedicated to friends and family, and it was sobering to realise how many there were to remember.

Candle bags

After the Relay, these bags are incinerated and the ashes scattered in a memorial garden.

Shortly after the ceremony, Pearl and The Dad went home.  Our wonderful babysitter had taken Fainjin and Babess to a park, brought them home, fed them, read them stories, put them to bed, done her own study, and was doing all our dishes (!) by the time they got home.  Pearl managed to strip off her wet clothes before falling asleep, but I hear it was a close-run thing.

Meanwhile, I was at the park, supporting our walkers and runners and doing a few spells myself.  There was a lot of music, noise and off-track action through the night.  One team hosted a disco from 11pm until 2pm.

As I carried the baton between 1am and 2am, the sky started to clear and we could see lots of stars.  I found myself thinking of Susan (WhyMommy) and her amazing job at NASA.  I would love for her to see our wonderful southern skies.  I thought a lot about other friends living with cancer, too – there’s a lot of time for thinking on the Relay, and you’re surrounded by plenty of thoughtful people.

I managed to get about an hour of sleep in a deck-chair in our marquee.  We were exceptionally lucky that we were somehow out of range of the sprinkler system which came on at 2:30am!  Some tents had indoor fountains and flooded.  Ours, with half-a-dozen children asleep on the ground, stayed comparatively dry.

Free massages were available to participants, and I was near the start of the queue when the morning session started at 5:30am.  After trying to sleep on a foam pad (and fearing I might never move again!), then napping in a deck-chair, those ten minutes were absolute bliss.

Breakfast was provided at 7am, and The Dad achieved the near-impossible by having all three children down at the park by 7:30.  Fainjin and Babess were very excited to see what we had all been up to, and enthusiastically joined the Relay.  Fainjin carried the baton for two full laps, and Babess for about 30m (it’s heavy for a little kid!).

The whole team walked the final lap together, then gathered for the closing ceremony.  We didn’t run the most laps, have the best-decorated tent, or win the prize for best-dressed team, but we were more than satisfied with our efforts.

There is talk about organising a team for next year.  I hope that one year, we will find that we don’t need a Cancer Society.  Until then, please support your local Relay for Life.

Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back!

Remembered with love

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

The advantage of cuteness

March 6, 2011

Our team goal for the 2011 Relay for Life is to raise $100 per person through sponsorship or other activities.  Fundraising has of course been hard-hit by the Christchurch earthquake, as hearts, minds and wallets turn – rightly – to the victims of the disaster.  As a family, we have turned to our family and friends overseas to help out.  After all, cancer is a global problem, and one that doesn’t take any notice of natural disasters.  In fact, the Cancer Society NZ will be working even harder this year I’m sure, supporting people whose lives have been disrupted by the quake.

Pearl is outstripping The Dad and me in money raised by an awful lot. Her sponsorship is 6 times my current total, and 10 times The Dad’s.  I’ve been making chocolate fudge and selling it at work, which is bringing in a tidy sum, but the cuteness factor of simply being eight years old is hard to beat!

Please support your local Relay for Life, or consider entering a team yourself – it’s a world-wide event!

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Relay for Life

January 28, 2011

My nephew, a young (not quite 16) man of whom I am immensely proud, has organised a team to run in this year’s Relay for Life.

My first thought was that Pearl might like to join the team.  Hard on the heels of that thought followed, “I could join the team!”  So The Dad and I will run/walk too.  And I was right, Pearl did like to join the team.

My family has been touched kicked by cancer several times, and so have too many of my friends.  The Cancer Society have been there when we needed them, and do an outstanding job.  We’ll be running and walking in memory of those we have lost, and in support of those who are struggling – cancer survivors, patients, their families and their friends.

If you would like to donate to this cause, and know us in real life, email me and I will give you our team details.  Otherwise, how about supporting your local Relay for Life?  They are all over the world!  You could even join a team, or organise your own…

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

%d bloggers like this: