The annual Cancer Council ACT Relay for Life experienced a massive swell in participants for this year's event, demonstrating the passion and commitment in the capital to fight cancer.
Dozens of school groups, businesses and even the military entered teams, each one with colourful themes and decorations to help get them around the Australian Institute of Sport athletics track in style.
Relay for Life teams must have at least one person walking or running around the track at any given time for 24 hours. The event also includes local bands, food stalls, games and a ceremony with more than 1500 candles this year, to give participants a moment to stop and remember someone they may have lost to cancer.
Cancer Council ACT executive manager Belinda Barnier said participants were up on the last two or three years, with anywhere between 800 and 1000 people walking on Saturday afternoon.
She wanted to see numbers double for next year.
"Only with the gravity of numbers will we spread the awareness of cancer and the message of an early diagnosis," Ms Barnier said.
"[The participants] have the power to change the future."
Ms Barnier said 1600 people in Canberra were diagnosed with cancer each year, at a rate of 31 people each week, meaning demand for cancer services was only increasing.
She said all money raised would stay in the Canberra region and help bring more services to the capital.
Taking part on Saturday was Lizzie Christiansen Young, who said there was a desperate need in Canberra for more extensive oncology services for children.
Her daughter, Freyja Christiansen, 7, was diagnosed two-and-a-half years ago with clear cell sarcoma. Since then, she has also developed HLH, a condition where her immune system attacks her healthy organs because of her cancer treatment.
Ms Christiansen Young said she and Freyja took part to support Cancer Council ACT in its bid to bring more patient support services to the territory.
During 2016 and 2017, after the diagnosis, the family had to spend a combined 10 months in Sydney for treatment. In 2018, there were three lots of three-month visits to Melbourne.
Ms Christiansen Young said she understood having to travel for particularly complicated procedures, but often Freyja was required to travel interstate for a 30-minute infusion treatment, something an adult could get at Canberra Hospital.
She said she had been forced to contact charities and sell possessions to help fund treatments because health funds provided little and Freyja did not qualify for the National Disablity Insurance Scheme.
One of the biggest concerns, Ms Christiansen Young said, was the impact on children's mental health due to a lack of support when they were ripped out of school and their family homes to get treatment interstate.
The Relay for Life event was also important for Freyja, her mother said, to remember friends she had made who were also battling cancer. Of a group of 17 children Freyja had become close with since diagnosis, she was the only one left alive.
She also walked carrying a scarf given to her by her friend, and cancer advocate, Connie Johnson.