For Queenstowner Leigh Jackson, this weekend’s Relay For Life is a chance to grieve.
The 33-year-old’s walking the full 24 hours to raise money for the Cancer Society, and to undertake his own “mental marathon”.
Jackson lost his father to lung cancer, and in another blow, his mother has been diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.
He says he didn’t really deal with the grief of his father’s death at the time, and now he feels he’s come full circle.
“When dad died I focused on being there for my mum, I didn’t grieve.
“I pushed the hurt down deep and buried it to stay strong for her when her world fell apart, and now it’s back for her also.
“I’m doing this not only to help with my own healing but also to support others who keep it bottled up and struggle to deal with the pain.”
He’s been training for the event by trail cycling.
“I’m not a seasoned athlete by any means,” he laughs. “I’m probably carrying a few extra kilos than I should be.”
This is the first year Relay for Life to be held in Queenstown. As of Tuesday, more than $62,000 had been raised.
It’ll run at the Lake Hayes Pavilion, from noon on Saturday through to noon on Sunday.