About 8.15pm on the Saturday night the arena lights will be switched off, a spotlight switched on, and a lone piper will stand on high ground, circled by hope signs and candle-lit tributes.
Moments later, you will hear the haunting strains of Amazing Grace. And as the music spills out and swells around, you will join others in a silent tribute to those lost to cancer and those who fight it.
The piper is Connolly resident and cancer survivor Amelia Hewison (22), who is in her last year of studies at UWA for her Masters degree in social work. She has played at the candlelight ceremony for seven years.
The Cancer Council last month recognised Amelia’s contribution to the Joondalup Wanneroo Relay for Life at its Heroes of Hope function, when she was awarded the Youth Spirit Award.
Amelia was very surprised to receive the award and thought others were more deserving. ‘I didn’t even know I had been nominated,’ she said. ‘I didn’t think I had done anything special.’
Amelia was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and kidney when she was just six, but after years of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, she was given the all-clear at 11.
‘The effects of cancer are still with me today, but they haven’t deterred me from living my life to the fullest,’ she said.
‘Relay for Life plays a huge part in my life.
‘I feel proud and honoured to play for my friends and others who have been lost to cancer.’
Amelia is also a Relay for Life team captain and is busy fundraising to help the Cancer Council with its research and support programs.
‘I have asked all my friends to put aside their five cent pieces and a cousin in South Australia has picked up on this,’ she said.
‘So now it’s a challenge between South Australia and Western Australia to see which state can raise the most money for the Cancer Council. We have raised $1000 so far.’
However, more teams are sought to register for the October Relay for Life. Anyone interested in joining or forming a Relay for Life team should call 0417 922 726 or email relayteamsjoondalupwanneroo @gmail.com for more information.