Each year, communities across Australia gather together for a 24-hour walking event, Relay For Life, to raise funds for Cancer Council.
Staged in various regions across the country, some iterations of the overnight charity event haven’t gone ahead as normal this year, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Despite this, the organisers of Hills Relay for Life, which was due to take place in Sydney’s Hills District on 16 May, were determined to continue the fundraising event, which has raised some $320,000 annually over the past 19 years.
The organisers joined forces with event management company International Productions and content production company Cornerpoint Studios to deliver the event in a virtual format.
Together they donated 380 hours of their time to bring the event to life.
“This event is for such an important cause to support, we didn’t even have to consider it when we jumped onboard,” said Adryan Daynes, owner and director of International Productions and Cornerpoint Studios.
“We worked on an engaging a four-hour program which is now being shared with all relay organisers as they continue to work on how to connect during this challenging time.”
The four-hour program was live-streamed through Facebook and YouTube and featured a range of at-home activities such as a cooking demonstration, music quiz game, Zumba class and the Hope Ceremony, which is an integral part of the event.
The event raised $70,000 for Cancer Council NSW, which was welcome support for patients who need it “more than ever before”.
“Cancer doesn’t stop and 94 per cent of our funding relies on our community,” said Cancer Council spokesperson Danielle Sammut.
“We’re so appreciative – this event could not have happened without the support of International Productions and Cornerpoint Studios.”
While taking the event virtual presented challenges, Daynes said it was an opportunity to learn more about the different technology available.
“COVID-19 has meant we have had to learn very quickly about the pros and cons of live streaming services,” he said.
“We’ve come across some new technology which we now will be using more regularly in our live streaming of events.”
Cancer Council NSW is now exploring more virtual capabilities for future Relay For Life events, so cancer patients who may be sick or have low immunity can still be a part of the event from the safety of their home.