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Cancer Society calls on supporters to stay the course and Relay Your Way

Today, the Cancer Society of New Zealand announces an alternative to traditional Relay For Life events. It comes after Covid forced the cancellation of the organisation's iconic street collection on Daffodil Day in August.

Cancer Society of New Zealand Chief Executive Lucy Elwood: "Covid continues to ruin all of our best-laid plans. However, we have quickly adapted and are making the most of it. This year, we will walk apart, but not alone in Relay Your Way."

The Cancer Society will launch an easy-to-follow video that will guide supporters through the parts of Relay For Life everyone loves the most but in the safety of a space of people's choice.

"We know that Relay For Life is a chance to celebrate cancer survivors and carers and remember loved ones lost to cancer for many people. We hope that people across Aotearoa New Zealand will participate in Relay Your Way this year and run, walk, or even dance laps with our online guide to support people affected by cancer," says Lucy Elwood.

The funds raised through Relay For Life are essential in helping cancer patients and their whānau get the care and practical support they need: from safe transport to treatment, through to specialist nursing and psychology support, and accommodation for those travelling for treatment. Supporters also help fund ground-breaking cancer research and vital prevention programmes.

On average, Relay For Life raises around 2 million dollars to fund these crucial services. Therefore, the Cancer Society asks supporters to stay the course and participate in Relay Your Way.

Gareth Mentzer from Hastings is going to walk 12 hours and is trying to raise $5,000.

“The Cancer Society is a great organisation that helps so many people, and just because Covid is here, it doesn’t mean that people stop getting cancer. I want to do my bit to help and give back. I am going to throw a gazebo up on the front lawn and walk the neighbourhood. Hopefully, the neighbours cheer me on, and the family will step in for me when I need a toilet break,” says Gareth Mentzer.

“Our events keep getting knocked down, while need for our services go up, so New Zealanders’ efforts to raise funds for our work through Relay For Life are more vital than ever," ends Elwood.

15 Relay Your Way events are scheduled to take place across Aotearoa from late February through to April. To sign up and make a difference for those affected by cancer visit the Relay for Life website.


Cancer Society of New Zealand Chief Executive Lucy Elwood and Gareth Mentzer are available for comments. To schedule an interview, please contact:

Susan Barker | Communications Manager | 0278824930 |

About Relay For Life

The concept of Relay For Life began in 1985, when Dr Gordon Klatt, a surgeon and American Cancer Society volunteer, spent a grueling 24 hours circling a local sports track. Friends, family, and patients watched and supported him as he walked and ran more than 133km and raised $27,000 through pledges to help save lives from cancer.

Since then, Relay For Life has taken place every year and is now the world's largest cancer fundraising event with 29 countries taking part.

The inaugural New Zealand event was held in Manawatu in 2001. In 2021, over 12,541 participants from the far north to the deep south signed up for Relay For Life.

About the Cancer Society of New Zealand

The Cancer Society of New Zealand is the country's leading organisation dedicated to reducing the incidence of cancer and ensuring the best cancer care for New Zealanders. We are committed to working with communities and decision makers by providing leadership and advocacy in cancer control, with core services in information and support, research and health promotion.