James Butler knows all about the importance of cancer research.
The Baulkham Hills resident is a long-time Cancer Council volunteer and is on the board of Cancer Council NSW.
His four children were under the age of seven when he was first diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a blood cancer, in 1993. Four years later it had returned.
“In the four years between the first and second diagnosis there had been a lot of advances in research,” he said.
One of those advances was a stem cell transplant which he underwent in 1997.
“When you look at what has happened (in research) compared to even 10 years ago, we have come a long way,” he said.
Thanks to cancer research, advances in treatment and successful prevention and screening programs, 61,000 lives have been saved in the last 20 years in Australia according to the Cancer Council's figures. 
Danielle Sammut, community relations co-ordinator with Cancer Council, Greater Western Sydney said: “Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, such as those at the Hills Relay For Life, Cancer Council NSW invests more than $18 million each year into cancer research.
“The survival rate is increasing for cancer, but around 130 Australians are still dying every day from cancer.”
Last year’s Hills Relay For Life raised more than $329,000 for research but also support programs in the Hills such as the ENRICHing Survivorship program, emergency financial assistance and a sun protection program targeting golfers.
The 2019 Hills Relay for Life is on May 18-19 at Castle Hill Showground.
The 24-hour event starts at 9.30am, participants can walk just one lap or many. The first lap is reserved for cancer survivors and carers.
There is entertainment all day plus stalls and sideshows. The candlelight ceremony of hope is at 6pm.
On Sunday, dogs can join their owners between 7.30am and 9.30am.
Cost of registration includes a purple Relay shirt.

Sydney Hills & Hawkesbury Living are proud to be sponsoring the Hills Relay For Life again in 2019.
For details visit cancer council.org.au/hillsrelay or the Hills Relay For Life Facebook page.

Subscribe for one year here or via iSubscribe for $39.95 to receive a premium coffee-table magazine delivered each season.