Former Australian rugby union player, Mark Ella / Photo: Edwin Monk

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Cancer Council volunteers are making the final laps in their fundraising efforts for the Eastern Suburbs Relay For Life.

Having been touched by cancer himself, rugby union legend Mark Ella decided to donate his time for raising some much needed funds for cancer research and support.

“I think it’s a worthy cause,” said Mr Ella. “It’s also an athletic event and a team event, which I think is really special as I have played in a team my whole life.

“I feel that it is important to help out in any way I can.”

Taking place over the May 18-19 weekend in Centennial Park, members of the public have the opportunity to form relay teams or drop in on the day to enjoy a range of activities and entertainment.

Mr Ella will be speaking on the day, signing autographs and providing fans a chance to have a mini-game with him. Other events on the day include a cooking demo by Masterchef finalist Audra Morrice, a dinner banquet with live entertainment from Lucy B and The B Sides, Zumba and childrens’ activities including a jumping castle and face painting.

The day will commence with an opening lap in honour of survivors and their caregivers, while at sundown there will be the Candlelight Ceremony of Hope to remember those who have lost their battle with cancer.

Cancer Council NSW Relay Coordinator Becky Banfill said the Relay For Life is more than just a fundraising event.

“The relay is unique because it brings people together, people come from all areas and for many different reasons,” she said.

“Some have been affected by cancer, some have joined through a work team but at the end of the weekend everyone is united.”

“At every relay I meet people and talk to them about why they relay. We all have different reasons and yet were there together actually doing something about it.”

The Cancer Council is hoping to raise $250,000 this year and so far 48 teams have signed up. To find out more information visit www.relay.cancercouncil.com.au