Rallying to the cancer cause
Squadron Leader Ruth Sagrott has seen firsthand the impact of losing loved ones to cancer, which inspired her to coordinate a team for a 2023 cancer fundraiser in Canberra.
CAPTION: RAAF Personnel Branch members support the ACT Relay for Life 2023. Story by Leading Aircraftwoman Ashleigh Buchanan.
Squadron Leader Sagrott and Flight Sergeant Shelby Powell banded together to create a team for Cancer Council’s event Relay for Life, with Personnel Branch members rallying right behind them.
More than 134,000 people a year in Australia are diagnosed with cancer, with the ripple effect impacting military members and their families.
The cause is a significantly close one to Flight Sergeant Powell, who spoke about the importance of raising awareness for fundraisers like these.
“I found out my husband, Will, had bowel cancer in 2017, then again in 2021 as it developed in to the rarer peritoneal cancer.
“He was only given a one in two chance of survival and explaining to our kids what was happening was the hardest part, as we just didn’t know from one day to the next,” said Flight Sergeant Powell.
“When I was asked to help support the 24-hour non-stop Relay for Life, I didn’t hesitate to take on the challenge.
“No one can prepare themselves for finding out that they have cancer or a loved one does.”
Relay for Life aims to celebrate survivors, remember those who suffered and fight back to stop it happening to others.
“Sadly, there are very few people who have not been touched by cancer.
“We never envisioned so many people requesting to join us, throwing their hearts and souls into raising awareness,” said Squadron Leader Sagrott.
“It was great to see the teamwork and camaraderie, watching people committing to and reaching their personal goals.”
During the event, participants ran and walked just short of 650 kilometres collectively, raising over $9500 for research, prevention and support services for Cancer Council Australia.