IT takes a special kind of “ordinary” person to walk lap after lap of a sodden sports field but the weekend Relay For Life revealed Orange has about 1000 very special people.
Most walked in this year’s regulation purple Relay For Life shirt but many also wore animal masks and jump suits, funny hats and colourful gumboots, while a few paced out in army camouflage and full packs.
And for those who walked there was plenty to see and do as the marquees and stalls of some 89 team sites rolled by.
There was food and drink of every type imaginable, souvenirs and raffles, all aimed at raising at least $170,000 for the Cancer Council. Above all, there was a sense of fun.
Team members sat under shelters talking and laughing, perhaps plotting who would pull the 2am-3am shift on their relay roster, while teenagers danced, jogged in breathless conversation or dribbled soccer balls.
There were of course immensely moving moments when family and friends who had not survived cancer were remembered, but overwhelmingly the mood was one of hope, optimism and community. If the Relay For Life is not Orange’s single biggest community event it is certainly its most inclusive.
Whether you were a food or wine buff, a sports or arts fanatic, a classic car enthusiast, young or old mattered not.
Like the disease that touches lives and families from every walk of life the relay teams came from every corner of Orange. It is impossible to think of any other cause that year after year brings so many different people, organisations and businesses together for a single-minded purpose.
This year participation was up on 2013 and even the $200,000 fundraising total of 2012 is not beyond reach. Regardless, 2014 has already made its mark thanks to the efforts of a truly wonderful committee and a bunch of ordinary people who were prepared to walk the walk.