Shellharbour Relay for Life taking place February 25-26 at Albion Park Showground

ORGANISERS have described Relay for Life as an event that “gets you emotionally”. 

Relay for Life is a 24-hour event raising funds for Cancer Council NSW. 

The 2017 Shellharbour Relay for Life will feature a carnival theme. The event will take place on February 25-26 at Albion Park Showground.

All That Jazz preparing for the Relay. Pictured are teachers Tayla O'Keefe and Sara Saliba with students Zali Donovan, Hannah Klein, Caitlin Fawell and Ripley Prince.

All That Jazz preparing for the Relay. Pictured are teachers Tayla O'Keefe and Sara Saliba with students Zali Donovan, Hannah Klein, Caitlin Fawell and Ripley Prince.

Albion Park resident Michaela Rees is an ambassador for the 2017 Shellharbour Relay. 

Ms Rees, 51, has been attending the Shellharbour Relay since its inception in 2012. 

Last year's Relay. The 2016 event had about 800 participants registered across 50 teams, raising $93,000. More details at www.relayforlife.org.au.

Last year's Relay. The 2016 event had about 800 participants registered across 50 teams, raising $93,000. More details at www.relayforlife.org.au.

The mother of three was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. 

After an operation, preventative chemotherapy and radiotherapy, by mid-2010 it appeared she had beaten the disease. However, in late 2011 Ms Rees learned she had metastatic or secondary breast cancer. 

READY TO RELAY: Grant Plecas from Cancer Council, event ambassador Michaela Rees and Gary Rees at the launch of the Shellharbour Relay. Picture: Sylvia Liber

READY TO RELAY: Grant Plecas from Cancer Council, event ambassador Michaela Rees and Gary Rees at the launch of the Shellharbour Relay. Picture: Sylvia Liber

“I’m still having chemo,” she said. 

“It has got rapidly worse in the liver… We still have options, still have chemo options at the moment. I’m very upbeat and positive towards life, which is what I keep telling everybody.”

The event’s entertainment will include movies on the big screen, rides, family games, Zumba demonstrations, Matilda’s Farmyard, the Junior Miss Relay Pageant, emergency services displays and an interactive health expo run by the Cancer Council. 

Being a part of the Relay entertainment hits close to home for members of All That Jazz Dance Co Illawarra, who have regularly performed at the event. 

“We do it because it’s a community event and something like Relay for Life affects so many people, including a few of the kids at the studio,” owner Nicole Covington said.

This includes seven-year-old student Zali Donovan, who is still undergoing maintenance treatment for leukaemia. 

Edie Tunbridge, nine, had a germ cell tumour originate from her ovaries, and is currently in remission. 

Caitlin Fawell, 13, will also dance to honour her sister Amber who has an inoperable brain tumour. 

Since its inception, the Shellharbour Relay has raised funds for Illawarra cancer support services and prevention programs.

These include in-home help and transport to cancer treatment.

Grant Plecas, community engagement manager for Cancer Council NSW Southern Region said participants could attend for one hour or 24 hours. 

“There’s plenty for people to do on the day to experience the event,” he said.

“It gets you emotionally. No matter who you are, I think there’s an emotional part and tie to the event.”