Mum’s Cancer Battle an Inspiration for Charity Relay

( Taranaki businessman who was just 9-years-old when his mother was first diagnosed with cancer hopes to do his bit to raise funds for other sufferers in the New Plymouth Relay for Life.

Dave Churchman, owner operator of House of Travel, says his mother Phylis, eventually lost her 30 year battle with breast cancer at age 65, and says cancer was always in his life.

“Mum would go into remission and then it would come back, then she’d be in remission and then the cancer would be back again. It was always there, always around us, always something we thought about and eventually it spread to the rest of her body.”

“Cancer was a constant in my life, from the time I was 9 until I turned 30,” says Churchman.

He says it was the awareness from an early age that “life is fragile” which saw him adopt a “live for the moment attitude,” he says.

Something that many of his six staff, who are also his fellow relay team members share.

“We are an enthusiastic bunch when it comes to raising money for charity, and particularly one such as the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, sadly all of us here have had cancer touch our lives in some way and we want to do something about that,” he says.

Three of the other relay members have also had a parent affected by the disease, says Churchman.

Relay for Life is a fundraising event that brings communities together to help celebrate cancer survivors and caregivers and to help fight back by raising awareness and funds to support the work of the Cancer Society.

Churchman says his team, Hot to Trot aims to raise $5,000 as part of the charity relay and is already well on the way with a $1,500 donation from House of Travel’s head office.

He also hopes his unique approach, which features a Balinese inspired Spa complete with manicures, will help drive interest and donations for his team.

“It makes sense that with a passion for travel our relay team would create a refreshment tent for our supporters which reflects the personalities of the people taking part,” he says.

Cancer Society spokesperson Lauree Tito says the organization is excited to have Hot To Trot taking part this year.

“We hope they achieve their Dream Team status and raise over $5000. All monies raised during Relay For Life go to help the Cancer Society deliver the much needed services for local patients, caregivers and their families, she says.

Relay for Life Taranaki will be held on Saturday March 22nd at the Pukekura Raceway Function Centre, New Plymouth.

Media Release 18 March 2014.