BREAST cancer survivors and their carers will be leading the charge in the opening lap of this year's Kiama Relay for Life.
The event, which raises funds for the Cancer Council, will take place at Kiama Leisure Centre on May 3-4.
Committee member Barb Mandelson and Val McNamara are co-ordinating the survivors and carers' opening for the event.
Mrs Mandelson said organisers were keen to reach all survivors and carers, and encourage them to join in the Relay.
She said they aimed to have a different group of survivors and carers lead the opening lap each year, with breast cancer the focus in 2014.
Next year, organisers intend to invite melanoma survivors and carers to be the lead group.
Mrs Mandelson said it was vital to include carers who had lost a loved one.
"Their journey was just as harrowing, so it would be good to have them recognised.
"We would like to embrace those people, as they perhaps feel more lost. They need to be celebrated."
Organisers have reached out to the Illawarra Breast Cancer Survivors to participate.
Breast cancer survivors, whether members of the support group or not, are encouraged to help lead the opening lap.
Group facilitator and Gerringong resident Moira Etheridge, a breast cancer survivor, said they were honoured to be asked to help.
"[Events like Relay] are very important, as it publicises cancer, and how there are ways, lifestyle choices, that can possibly help prevent or lower the risks of cancer," she said.
She and her sister, Anne, were both diagnosed in 1996. Anne died two years ago of secondary cancer.
Mrs Etheridge attended her first Relay last year.
"It's a very moving experience," she said.
The opening ceremony takes place at 10am, and the first lap at 10.15am.
The cost for registration is $20 a person. To register or donate, visit relayforlife.org.au.
Find out about the Illawarra Breast Cancer Survivors by phoning 4234 0324.