Relay For Life has looked a bit different in 2022, but that hasn’t stopped people from completing their laps. Teams have been out and about across Wellington doing Relay on their own terms while raising vital funds for cancer.
For one team, Relay Your Way provided the perfect opportunity to do what they do best – ride motorbikes!
The Iwi Riders Aotearoa motorcycle club are a group of motorbike enthusiasts from across Aotearoa. Each member represents their tribal Iwi affiliations, and the group often comes together to tautoko/support different causes. Cancer is a cause that couldn’t be closer to their hearts.
Mark and Veronica from Iwi Riders have both lost several family members and friends to cancer and have long supported Relay For Life. This year, they are doing so again with their fellow club members and supporters.
“All of us have lost someone to cancer, and we see Relay For Life as a way to give back for the amazing support we have received from the Cancer Society. Together we are carrying and walking, riding and remembering alongside each other, it’s about celebrating our loved one’s lives”, said Veronica.
Starting at Makara Community Hall on April 2nd at 4pm, the event began with an opening ceremony and an initial lap to honour survivors, and caregivers, supporters. Groups of two or three riders then took turns navigating their motorbikes around a 47km loop across some of the most windy, uncomfortable, and rural areas of west Wellington.
The Community Hall acted as the main hub for the event, offering entertainment, food and a place to share stories and connect with others. For a donation, hairdresser ‘Katie’s Kutz” shaved 7 heads of hair and supporters had the opportunity to go for a bike ride around the community.
After 14 hours of riding, the group completed their final lap as one, finishing at 6am with a moment to remember their loved ones lost to cancer with karakia and waiata.
“It was a very emotional 14 hours, and we feel very thankful and blessed for having such awesome supporters – especially our riders for their commitment, putting their experience to the test and for travelling from near and far. We’d also like to thank our communities Karori, Ohariu and Makara. Without them it wouldn’t have been possible”, said Veronica.
Mandy Evans, Event Lead of the Cancer Society said, “We are incredibly thankful for the support of the Iwi Riders and their commitment to raising funds for cancer. Events such as these show the real impact of cancer in our communities and their determination to fight back.”
The Iwi Riders have raised over $6,000 - but they haven’t finished yet. If you would like to support their cause, please visit https://www.relayforlife.org.nz/t/veronica-raukawas-team