The race starts with the lighting of a candle in honour of those who had succumbed to cancer and in the races that follow, teams run in relay, ensuring there is someone running all night, as a symbol of the support they are offering to those affected by cancer.
This year, 152 teams, comprising more than 3 000 people, took part in the ninth annual CANSA Relay for Life at the Vygieskraal Stadium in Athlone on Friday.
The event, organised by the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), raised more than R260 000 for the organisation.
Cansa committee member, Mandy Adams, said that the event, where they also served a three-course meal to more than 200 cancer survivors, was hosted to celebrate, remember, and fight back, by raising funds to educate communities.
“We are here to celebrate the cancer survivors, to remember those who have passed on, and to fight back with everything that we have by raising funds for research, education and in support of communities. We are hoping to make people aware that they are not alone. We can’t fight alone. We need everybody to support us,” Ms Adams said.
Team Pulsar who had 14 participating teams and who have been taking part for the past eight years, raised more than R28 800. They also claimed first prize for the best display.
Team Embrace, who raised R28 400, came in second place .
“I am ecstatic. We did not expect to win first place again this year,” said Team Pulsar captain Moegamat Tape Fredricks.
“We have won five times already. A lot of people ask me why we do this every year, but it is not about the money. We do it to create awareness about cancer, awareness is critical. There are so many people who have cancer, but they hide it,” Mr Fredricks said.
The Nantes Athletic Club had three teams which took part for the first time.
Igshaan Kamish said the team hoped to raise awareness that cancer can be beaten.
“We are here at the Cansa Relay For Life for all cancer patients. We are hoping to achieve awareness about cancer.
“We took the intiative to start this and got so much feedback that we had to split the team into three teams. Cancer can be beaten,” Mr Kamish said.