Canberra’s ‘Bold Bandannas’ will take to the track for the 20th time this weekend, 23 and 24 March, for the Cancer Council’s annual Relay for Life fundraising event.
The Bold Bandannas came together in 2000, when a group of 12 preschool staff gathered and raised $1,600 in the first Relay for Life. They made their pants out of bandannas, and thus their name was born.
“From then the team has grown, as has our means of fundraising, our enthusiasm [and] our commitment,” says Rosemary Drabsch, the groups ‘founder’.
“I now work full-time at it; it’s a full-time job … We’ve already started fundraising for next year.”
The volunteer fundraising team, whose members are mostly retired, works year-round, raising money through events like local market stalls, dinner dances, trivia nights, sausage sizzles and raffle tickets.
“We’re all touched by cancer,” says team member Jan Raff. “We’ve actually lost two team members to cancer [and] we have survivors.
“I actually live permanently with leukaemia … I’ve had melanomas removed … A friend of ours is just currently being treated for melanoma … We’re always being touched by cancer.”
“I’m a survivor … I’m probably a survivor because of research,” adds another team member, Anne Gledhill.
Funds raised from Relay for Life go towards the Cancer Council’s support services, patient support officers, the Sun Smart program and the Quit program. Any remaining funds will go towards funding local research.
“Everything that’s raised in Canberra stays in Canberra,” says Jan.
The team has raised over $360,000 since they started in 2000, which Belinda Barnier, Cancer Council ACT’s executive manager, community support and engagement, says is the equivalent of one year’s relay fundraising, all on their own.
“This legacy needs to be passed on,” she says.
“[The Bold Bandannas] … what they’re doing works. We need another 10 Bold Bandannas next year.”
The ACT Relay for Life will see teams commit to walking in a 24-hour relay on Saturday 23 to Sunday 24 March at the AIS Athletics Track, Bruce. Registrations will be open on the day. For more information or to make a donation, visit actcancer.org