2 June 2023

Wagga's Relay For Life is back for 2023 with a fresh approach

| Chris Roe
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Wagga Wagga Relay For Life chairperson Alan Pottie (right) will be back at the Marketplace to launch the 2023 event. Photo: WWRFL.

Wagga’s Relay For Life is back with a date locked in for November and organisers are promising a new format and a bigger-than-ever community event.

The relay brings people together from all walks of life to celebrate those who have survived cancer, remember those who we have lost and to raise money to fight the disease.

Committee chairman and Wagga’s Citizen of the Year, Alan Pottie, said that the 24-hour team relay was a reminder that cancer is with us 24 hours a day.

“It is an occasion for everyone. No matter your age or fitness level, you can get involved and make a difference.”

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The Relay For Life began in 1985 in the United States when founder, Dr Gordy Klatt, spent 24 hours marching around a track in Washington to raise awareness and funding for cancer research.

It has now grown to become the world’s largest fundraising event for cancer with more than four million people in more than 20 countries taking part.

Relay For Life began in Australia in 1999 and now raises more than $14 million annually, with every dollar raised going towards the Cancer Council’s research, prevention and support programs.

The first Wagga Relay For Life was held in 2002 and over the past 21 years, it has grown to be one of the region’s largest fundraisers, attracting dozens of local teams to sign up, raise money and take their turn circling Bolton Park.


The chariot races were called off due to rain in 2022 but will return for this year’s Relay For Life. Photo: Chris Roe.

Wet weather and flooding forced last year’s event indoors, but the team still managed to raise more than $75,000 and there were takeaways that have influenced the new schedule.

For the first time in NSW, the relay will begin on a Friday night, kicking off on 3 November.

The Wagga committee hopes it will enable more people to get involved and perhaps even set the benchmark for Relay For Life events across the state.

“We understand everyone is busy with competing weekend priorities, so we are acting on community feedback to bring this year’s event forward to start on the Friday afternoon,” Alan explained.

“This year’s relay will have a festival atmosphere with something for everyone, including live entertainment, survivors and carers morning tea and carnival games along with the traditional 24-hour relay events.”

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The chariot races planned for last year had to be scratched with the last-minute changes but Alan said they would be back this year using the Lions Club’s refurbished two-wheeled carts.

“Relay is like a choose your own adventure, whether it be dropping in to enjoy some chariot races, participating in the opening ceremony, listening to some music, and grabbing some snacks from our food vendors or setting up a campsite and staying for the whole event,” he said.

Wagga’s Relay For Life 2023 will launch this Saturday morning with an information stall at the Wagga Marketplace and Alan is encouraging teams to register now to give themselves time to sign up as many sponsors as possible.

“Come down on Saturday to find out more or register a team,” Alan said.

“Together, we’re an unstoppable force and can stop cancer in its tracks.”

This year’s goal for the Wagga event is $80,000 and you can get involved here.

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