A LONG line of glowing paper bags encircled La Trobe University Athletics Track, as hundreds of people lit candles on Friday night in memory of those affected by cancer.
The brown bags were a tribute to those who had lost the battle, while the white bags represented cancer survivors.
Relay participant Debbie Walkden walked in memory of her father Colin, who lost his battle to cancer three weeks ago.
"He was hoping to make it to the (relay) but he passed away three weeks ago," she said.
"He started off with prostate (cancer) and it ended up getting into his bones."
Ms Walkden said her father was 75 years old when he passed away and it was a difficult time for the family.
"It hits families everywhere," she said.
"We are (participating in the relay) for everyone affected by cancer.
"Last year I wanted to do it but we were too late, so I made sure we got in this year."
As part of the Candlelight Ceremony, the Empty Table Ceremony was conducted for the first time in Bendigo in memory of those who lost their battle to cancer.
The table, set for one person, recognised loved ones missing from the celebration.
Items on the table - a lemon, a white table cloth and a ribbon - were symbolic of the fight against cancer.
Cancer survivor Jane Bakes said the relay was about everyone coming together and trying to find a cure for cancer.
Ms Bakes was diagnosed with breast cancer 12 months ago and recently received news she was clear of the disease.
"It was such a feeling of relief," she said.
She said the first lap around the track was emotional and hard to describe.
"I think it is wonderful - the support for everyone that has been through it," she said.
"It shows there is hope.
"There will be a cure for, not just for breast cancer, but any cancer."
The relay continues at the athletics track today until 3pm.
Turn to pages 22 and 23 for more stories about the relay.