GLENDALE'S Hunter Sports Centre became an arena of hope last weekend when 16,000 people came together to pledge their support to cancer survivors and carers, and to remember those lost to the disease.
The Newcastle/Lake Macquarie Relay For Life is an annual overnight event held by the Cancer Council to spread awareness about cancer.
On Saturday at 2pm, the centre's gates opened to the event's biggest turnout since it started in Newcastle 12 years ago.
The inaugural midnight five-kilometre run was well-received, with an estimated 300 participants cheered on by sideline supporters.
Other events such as the survivors and carers' walk, candlelight ceremony and trivia were a hit.
Food vendors donated 20 per cent of their profits from the event to the Cancer Council.
Volunteers also did fund-raising of their own, which included massages, handmade craft and food and face painting.
The Cancer Council's Elissa Mead said the centre became "tent city", as participants set up camp for the night.
As The Star went to print, it was estimated the Cancer Council had raised more than $200,000, and was well on track to reaching its $250,000 goal.
■ Go to the website relay.cancercouncil.com.au to donate.