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Thursday, 23 March 2023

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Otago students taking part in a previous Otago Student Relay for Life event.

Hailey Kapadia has been attending Relay for life since 2014, when she was a high school akonga in Wellington.

By 2018 she was able to get 60% of her high school to work with her to raise money for the Cancer Society via a Relay for Life event, in her role as charity prefect.

“I suppose it was a bit of an achievement,” she acknowledges humbly.

She is hoping there will be an equally huge response to the Student Relay for Life around the University's Clocktower, being held this weekend.

The cause is personal for the Marketing and Psychology student at Otago, who lost an aunt to cancer in 2015.

Since that tragic loss she and her whānau have been heavily involved with the Cancer Society.

“My mum and I have done Relay for Life together, and lots of fundraising, it's been really lovely actually,” she says.

"When I came to Otago, I didn't think there was any reason for me to stop working towards the cause, so I decided to get involved with CancerCore.”

She is now president of CancerCore, a student initiative aiming to act as a bridge between Otago tauira and the Cancer Society.

Hailey's work CancerCore embodies the Cancer Society's slogan 'Whakanui, Maumahamatia, Tu-Atu!', 'Celebrate, Remember, Fight-Back!'.

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Hailey Kapadia, CancerCore's president.

CancerCore provides a crucial opportunity for students who have had cancer, who have lost someone to cancer, or who are simply interested in volunteering for an excellent cause.

“It can be intimidating to approach a big organisation on your own as a student, especially if you're new to the city."

“CancerCore can show you the ropes and help you to make the connections you need.”

This weekend Hailey and her team are putting on the Student Relay for Life, an event that has happened at Otago biennially since 2016.

The event involves teams of students walking, running or dancing their way around the Clocktower on the Dunedin campus for 12 hours from 6pm Saturday to 6am Sunday.

So far, the group has raised an incredible $63,000 of their $100,000 target.

If people want to get involved, there are a few different ways, says Hailey.

People can donate to the cause, or come along to the opening ceremony at 6pm or the candlelight ceremony at 12am, both outside the Clocktower.

Anyone is welcome to come to the ceremonies, with no obligation to take part in the relay, says Hailey, it's all about acknowledging and celebrating “Cancer Warriors and Carers”, who will also be doing a lap of honour.

Throughout the night there will be lots of different events to raise money and morale, including: an on-stage head shave event called Chop The Mop, Blind Dating, and lots of kai like soup in the evening, and porridge in the morning.

There are prizes to be won, and competitions won't only focus on who does the most laps (measured on Strava), or even which team or individual raises the most money, there will also be prizes for best dressed team, and the individual with the 'best spirit of relay'.

Prizes are provided by the event sponsors, who range from family-owned skate shop Pavement to Pic's peanut butter and My Mate John's who are supplying a lounge suite and food platter for winners to have an hour's rest!

For more information go to the Student Relay for Life website, mark yourself as attending on the Facebook page, and don't forget to rug up - it might be a chilly one!

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Volunteers at a previous Student Relay for Life event at Otago.

Kōrero by Internal Communications Advisor Alice Billington

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