FACE OF RELAY: Carla and Eric Cross are the 2019 face of relay for Kingaroy Relay for Life.
FACE OF RELAY: Carla and Eric Cross are the 2019 face of relay for Kingaroy Relay for Life. Matt Collins

Cancer couple find light at the end of the tunnel

ERIC and Carla Cross have been through many ups and downs in their 42 years of marriage.

They have been there for each other while they both went through their own cancer journeys at various times.

Carla was first diagnosed with breast cancer nearly 30 years ago.

It was only thanks to an early diagnosis that she is still alive today.

"I was 41 when I was first diagnosed,” she said.

"I was in a doctor's surgery one day and I picked up a magazine. It said I was in a high risk group.”

Eric has had his own cancer battles, and was diagnosed with prostate cancer only 12 months ago.

It was no surprise that, in a Kingaroy Relay for Life first, Eric and Carla have both been named as the Faces of Relay for 2019.

The couple were a popular choice when they were announced at the recent Mayor's Charity Breakfast at the Kingaroy RSL.

They were presented their sashes by Kingaroy Relay for Life president Rowena Dionysius.

"Our big role is to let people know about our cancer journey,” Carla said.

"We really want to get the message out there that you can beat cancer.”

Ms Cross said while it had been a huge challenge for both of them, going through their cancer battle together had also been a blessing in disguise.

"I am really blessed and thankful to still believe alive,” she said.

Sadly, cancer has played a large, yet unwelcome, part in Eric and Carla's lives.

"My mother had breast cancer,” Ms Cross said.

"I lost my brother only last December to bowel cancer.”

Ms Cross has also had a battle with skin cancer and she encourages all Australian to also have their skin checked regularly.

"We have the highest rate of melanomas in the world,” she said.

As the face of this year's relay, Ms Cross had some timely heath advice for all of us.

"For men, start having your prostate checked from about 40,” Ms Cross said.

"And women, go and have your mammogram done.

Ms Cross said way too many people died prematurely in Australia because they failed to get regular health checks.

"Just go and get checked,” she said.

"People just bury their head in the sand, if only they had gone for a check.”

The Kingaroy Relay for Life will be held on Saturday, October 12 at the Kingaroy Showgrounds.

To register a team, volunteer or find out more, visit www.relayforlife.org.au or phone 1300656585.