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Ben is ready to Relay

READY TO RELAY: Ben Paterson at this year’s launch. The 2016 Shellharbour event has a ‘Destination Relay’ theme. Picture: ROBERT PEETHAVING kept fit and been careful withhis diet for many years,BenPaterson therefore describes his cancer diagnosis as “a bit of a shock to the system”.

The Flinders resident andfather of two was diagnosed withbowel cancer last February, andis currently in remission.

“It’s been a pretty tough journey over the past 12 months,” he said.

“I always kept fit, always trained at the gym, did a fair bit of cycling, eat really healthy, don’t drink, don’t smoke…Not that that necessarily means anything, as I found out.

“It’s probably made me aware just to look after yourself and get checked up at the doctors’ and things like that.”

The 2016Shellharbour Relay for Lifewill take placeon February 27-28at Albion Park Showground.

Relay for Life isa 24-hour event thatraisesfunds for the Cancer Council.

Mr Paterson,41,is one of the event’s ambassadors this year.

This year will mark the first occasion he has participated in Relay for Life.

“When you’re 40 years of age you don’t think it’s going to be you,” he said.

“It was definitely a shock, but it made me more aware of how many people do suffer from it and do go through it.”

MrPatersonis also aRelay for Life volunteer committee member, donatinghis time to help organise the event in the hope to make a difference to the lives of those living with cancer.

MrPaterson is planning to walk the entire 24 hours at this year’s Relay.

“I dare say it’ll be pretty emotional, but I love helping other people,” he said of the upcoming event.

“I think it’s (Relay) a great thing; I think more people in the community should do something about it, because you never know, it could be you one day.”

Since its inception in 2012,the Shellharbour Relay for Life hasraisedmore than $370,000 for Illawarracancer support services.

These includein-home help and transport to cancer treatment, as well as skin prevention and nutrition workshops in schools.

Cancer Council NSW recently partnered with AccorHotels to provide reduced rate hotel rooms for cancer patients, carers and immediate family from throughout NSW who need to travel to Sydney for treatment.

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