More than $90,000 was raised before the first step was taken at Wollongong Relay For Life on Saturday.
Prior to 9am over 600 people had registered but many more were expected to call in on the day to help take the fundraising towards the $150,000 target..
Cancer Council southern region manager Grant Plecas said the new 12 hour format worked well with many people taking the opportunity to just to turn up and see how the shorter event was unfolding.
"The pre-registrations are a little bit down but the fascinating thing is the fund raised are not down. The many raised before the event even started was fantastic," Mr Plecas said.
"And new people getting involved are definitely making a difference. With so many people coming to see the new format I think next year we will see even more growth".
The event concluded at 9pm with the Hope Ceremony and the candle bags around the athletic track with heartfelt messages to those whose lives have been impacted by cancer.
Wollongong Relay for Life ambassador Jo Spicer shared her experience of two cancer diagnosis during the Hope Ceremony at Beaton Park on Saturday in the hope her story will inspire others and help raise more money to find a cure.
Ms Spicer, of Bulli, wrote a book called Survive and Thrive: How Cancer Saves Lives after her own cancer journey.
"I have had two cancer experiences," she said.
"The first one was CIN3 which was cervical cancer and that led to at hysterectomy when I was only 39. Then six years later I had a lump in my breast. I thought "damn I have got breast cancer". But it turned out to be a rare presentation of lymphoma. That led to over five years of chemo but I made it out the other side".
And now she wants to help others with cancer.
Ms Spicer said her personal experience showed her how the power of shared stories and communication was really important.
"I got to meet lots of other patients. Talking to other people and hearing their stories is what helps you get through. And is what prompted me to write my books on surviving, reviving and thriving to help other patients going through that journey to connect and feel like they are not alone and they are not isolated".
Ms Spicer said along with fundraising that was one of the reasons why Relay was so important.
"It brings us all together so we can be with other people who have gone through exactly the same experience. When you talk to someone here they know what you mean. It is a true connection though a like experience," she said.
"It is such an honour and privilege to be chosen as an ambassador. I am doing everything I can to assist and to help people come through cancer. I am really excited to be a part of relay this year. I think the format is fantastic because people can come as an individual and do a few laps themselves. They don't have to be part of a team".
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