Mid-20s Malaise

Struggling against the inevitable since 1986!

Camping and cancer

As evidenced by the title of this blog,I’m a man in his mid-20s who feels a little out-of-place at times. Usually, it’s because I’m a cynic at heart. This cynicism was tested this weekend when I participated in the Relay For Life. This is an event organised by the Cancer Council, who provide grants for research and support for those living with cancer and their carers. Having lost my aunt to cancer a couple of months ago (and my grandfather a few years ago – he was old, but it still wasn’t his time), it was a cause close to my heart. (I do consider myself very lucky, though – three of my four teammates have lost immediate family members to cancer in the last few years.)

At events like this, candles are always lit and “inspirational” songs are sung. I usually just roll my eyes (metaphorically, of course – to do so literally would be rude), but it was harder to maintain that icy exterior when your friends are crying as they remember the lives and struggles of their loved ones. Things with names like “ceremony of hope” always make me a little queasy, but as we walked around the relay track with candles, I couldn’t help bu feel a little moved.

The relay track I just mentioned was a muddy ring around the oval in Kiama, a gorgeous town down the south coast of New South Wales. The three friends who lost immediate family members to cancer all grew up in the area; one lost his sister, and his parents organised this event. The idea is that you walk all day and camp overnight, and get sponsored for your ordeal. We arrived a little late (we had to drive from Sydney) and set up our camp, and finally hit the track an hour after everybody else. We walked all afternoon, although the rain clouds rolled in and out, but by early evening, the rain was there to stay. The organisers closed the track as it was too muddy (plenty of kids were slipped and sliding through the muck, and having a great time of it), so we bunked down in our tent for the night with cheese, wine and a game of Uno Stacko!

Adam, Anna, myself, Mischa and Pam, ready to fuck cancer's shit up (in Adam's charming words)!

Hitting the track

Being the day after the royal wedding, a couple of blokes were offering pictures with Prince William for a mere $2! What a bargain, and what an honour! :P

Adam, Mischa and I settling into our tent

So it was a cold night. We didn’t know enough to lay a tarp beneath our tent before erecting it, so the damp seeped through the floor and our thin foam mattresses. But despite it all, it was fun. I’m a real city boy: although I like visits to more rural areas (like the place where I grew up), I always feel a little uneasy there. This was a very different experience for me, and I look forward to doing it again – hopefully with warmer weather!

The Kiama Relay For Life raised $100,000; my team raised $2,500 (which is $1,000 more than the goal we’d set!) If you’d like to donate, you still can at here. Don’t worry if you can’t – I’m sure to hassle you for it next year ;)

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