Mersey Maidens reach fund raising milestone

A group of North-West Tasmanian women have managed to raise more than $200,000 for the Cancer Council of Tasmania.

Article by: Elanor Watt, The Advocate

Since 2002, a group of employees from the Mersey Community Hospital have banded together to form a Relay For Life team called the Mersey Maidens.

Mersey Maidens team member Lyn Johnson said the group began when a Mersey Community Hospital colleague was diagnosed with cancer.

“We decided to do one the next year for our friend and then in the meantime, I became a cancer survivor myself,” she said.

Mrs Johnson said every year a team at the hospital enters in Relay For Life, sometimes they call themselves the Mersey Maidens Plus when a male participates. 

“It has been an amazing experience, my family has been involved with it all the time, my grandchildren were only young when I started.”

“We have lost a few members along the way, but we are there to support each other and I think it is a wonderful event.”

Relay For Life is not only an event to raise money for the Cancer Council but is a way to enhance relationships.

“You walk around the track and you get to know your other work mates that you might only see in passing, it is a very bonding experience,” Mrs Johnson said.

To reach such a large amount of funds over the years Mrs Johnson said they fundraised all year round.

“We have done lots of things, we have published a calendar, sold pens, had trivia nights, raffles, movie nights and the best cake stalls ever at the hospital.”

Cancer Council CEO Penny Egan said the efforts from the Mersey Maidens were truly amazing, as they prepared for their last relay.

“It takes some wonderful people with energy, passion and of course time to be able to devote to an event such as this,” she said.

“We always say Relay For Life is more of an experience than an event.”

Ms Egan said events like Relay For Life are important for the Cancer Council, as all funds raised are kept in the state.