'Cancer never sleeps, so neither do we': Bridlington's first Relay for Life raises over £20,000

Pictures by Richard Ponter
Pictures by Richard Ponter

Bridlington’s first Relay for Life event has been hailed a great success after raising more than £20,000 for charity.

Teams, survivors, carers and volunteers came together on Saturday to take part in an overnight Relay For Life, organised by Cancer Research UK, to celebrate their fundraising achievements over the past 10 months.

Pictures by Richard Ponter

Pictures by Richard Ponter

The driving force for people participating in the 24-hour relay was “cancer never sleeps, so neither do we”. Teams set up camp at Sewerby Hall and took turns to walk round the track passing on the baton.

Organiser Dian Rewston, known as Dee, said the event “went really well and had a great atmosphere”.

The current fundraising total stands at £21,442 but more sponsorship money will be added over the next two weeks. The 46-year-old said £676.21 was raised over the weekend through a tombola, stalls, raffles and merchandise.

Around 10 cancer survivors completed a lap of honour, followed by teams who carried banners to mark the opening of the Relay for Life.

Organiser Dian Rewston. Pictures by Richard Ponter

Organiser Dian Rewston. Pictures by Richard Ponter

The teams were Dee’s Crazy Bouncing Buddies, Dee’s Take 2, Yorkshire Puddings, Team Road Runners, Super Soapies, Jo’s Jewels, Tony Hughes Solo 24, I Believe In Eve, Team Bertie and The Oldies.

As a cancer survivor herself, Dee made a speech at the opening of the event which she said had “everybody in tears as I spoke from the heart”.

She told survivors and teams about her personal cancer journey and when walking around the track “to imagine how lonely a cancer patient must feel having no-one to talk to and feeling in the dark”.

Dee, who currently cares for her 94-year-old grandma who is battling breast cancer, said: “I was diagnosed 21 years ago in November and was perfectly healthy. Over the space of two weeks I was diagnosed, had surgery and started chemotherapy.

“On the Monday morning I woke up, went to switch the TV on and was paralysed from the waist down. I was rushed to hospital and they found a 10cm lump and told me they were operating that night.

“I’m still here today to tell the story and I think winning against cancer is like winning a war.”

She was diagnosed with yucca cell cancer, a condition where the sacks of the ovaries become infected, at the age of 25.

Since being in remission, Dee has suffered some of the after-effects of chemotherapy which include numbness in her fingers and Raynaud’s phenomenon, the discolouration of the fingers and toes after exposure to changes in temperature.

Dee is a familiar face across the county and volunteers at many Cancer Research UK events.

She said: “It’s my way of giving back and saying I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for them. I love getting involved and happy to help so that people can have fun and take part.”