Why is there no Relay For Life?

In July 2010 I had both the honour and the privilege of walking 2 Survivor laps on the same day. One in “the real world” in the city in which I live and one in Second Life. It is a story I have told here before but wanted to remind you all about since I feel it is relevant.

In 2011, I looked forward to doing the same thing since that year marked my tenth anniversary as a breast cancer survivor. It was not to be and I was greatly disappointed. Why you ask … I’ll explain as best as I can.

Someone up on the power tree, the place where those who think they know it all sit, on some branch that those of us peering up from terra firma wish would break there is a person who is holding the proverbial pistol in front of their face, barrel pointing skyward as they purse their lips in cowboy fashion and blow an imaginary whisp of gunpowder scented smoke away. I hope they are happy with their decision that affected hundreds of people not just where I live but in the surrounding area as well. For that matter, they may have made the same decision about many other places too and if they did …. well I hope their branch breaks soon.

This decision was to tell the survivors, sufferers, families and friends in Plymouth who have been touched by cancer that we would not be holding a Relay For Life event in our city but that one would be held in a town approximately 20 miles (23 km) away and not only that, but that this Relay would be the only one held south of Bristol which is a further 133 miles (160 km) away from Liskeard. I normally takes about 30 minutes to drive to Liskeard from Plymouth. Add that to the 2 and a half hours to Bristol and that is a somewhat lengthy journey if you are battling cancer or undergoing chemo and still want to take part in the Relay event. But that is during the off-peak season, when tourists are not travelling down to the beaches of Cornwall on mainly 2 lane roads and the traffic delays are horrendous.

Now bear in mind the expense of petrol (gasoline) plus tolls incurred on the return journey … you don’t have to pay to get IN to Cornwall but they make you pay to escape … and it isn’t cheap.

In Second Life it is stressed that Relay For Life is an International event and yes, it is but not all relays are sponsored by the governing body of Relay For Life of Second Life … the American Cancer Society. The relays in the United Kingdom are handled, and I use that phrase loosely, by the organization Cancer Research UK and they have a LOT to answer for.

Did they consider that Liskeard is a town, smaller than the County Seat of Cornwall Truro? Did they consider that Plymouth is the largest city between Bristol and Liskeard? It is difficult to park in Liskeard at the best of times, too. So please take heed Cancer Research UK. Get down out of the power tree and remember who you say you are supporting and raising money for and refrain from limiting relays to one for 3 counties (Cornwall, Devon and Somerset).

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