About 1200 people are expected to take part in the Relay for Life in Hawke's Bay on March 10, joining more than four million people in more than 6000 global communities who take part every year.
Funds raised from the event had totalled $900,000 over the past five years, said Hawke's Bay Cancer Society centre manager Trudy Kirk, who considered it the most unique event in New Zealand, and across the world.
"That's because it is specific to all of those in our community who have a cancer diagnosis, or who have survived or last loved ones - each year we are faced with having to raise $600,000 to $700,000 to provide our services, and this goes a long way to support that." The Cancer Society received no government funding for its work that was aimed at making the cancer journey easier for all involved, she said.
In Hawke's Bay the service covered the whole region from Wairoa to Central Hawke's Bay, offering anything from free transport to Palmerston North Hospital for treatment, to private and confidential in-home assistance, support groups for carers, health promotion, and education programmes such as Sunsmart in schools and businesses, and smokefree initiatives.
An important part of the work done by the Cancer Society was helping people through the anxiety of either discovering they had a high suspicion of cancer, a cancer diagnosis or living with cancer, said team member Pauline Farquhar who offered clinical supportive care.