Staff and supporters at Antarctica New Zealand’s Scott Base will pound a track near the world’s biggest ice shelf for 12 hours this weekend in a chilly cancer awareness event - the first Cancer Society Relay For Life to be held on the ice.
Antarctica New Zealand Service Supervisor at Scott Base, Trudie Baker, said participants would don appropriate cold weather gear before venturing out to walk or jog the 1.65km track with an elevation gain of 90m, which will be marked out by flags and signs bearing cancer awareness messages.
"Relay presents an exciting opportunity for Antarctic folk to do something in support of cancer awareness. The event has been met with enthusiasm from both sides, and we hope the weather is on our side! The forecast for Saturday night is for a fresh -10 to -15 degrees with a light breeze."
Ironically, the event is always planned to be overnight, symbolising the fact that cancer never sleeps. However, the Antarctic event will be in full sunlight because it has 24-hour daylight at present.
"It’s wonderful to see Antarctica New Zealand based staff and supporters joining the global Relay movement, along with 21 other Relay communities across New Zealand," said Dalton Kelly, Chief Executive of the Cancer Society of New Zealand.
Batons and message boards from the Antarctic event will be brought back to New Zealand and shared at the 21 Relays to be held around the country over a six-week period, starting on 16 February. Participants in the Antarctic event are also invited to attend Cancer Society Relays in New Zealand once they return at the end of the summer season in late February.
Kicking off the 2013 Relay For Life events in Antarctica is an exciting way to help increase understanding of the valuable contribution research makes in the fight against cancer, as well as raising awareness of support channels in New Zealand.
Relay For Life has three main focuses - celebrating cancer survivors and caregivers, remembering those who have been affected by cancer and fighting back by raising awareness of services and resources for patients, families and communities.
Any funds raised in Antarctica will be used to support services in the Canterbury/West Coast Division given the programmes close link to Christchurch.
"Christchurch has always had a close connection with the Antarctic so this is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate, remember and fight back against cancer with our special Antarctic neighbours," says Elizabeth Chesterman, Chief Executive, Canterbury West Coast Division.
For further information or to make a donation, please visit www.relayforlife.org.nz.