Natalie Yule Yeoman will have a remarkable story of resilience to tell when she steps up to the microphone at the Cancer Society Relay for Life Dunedin 2020.
Mrs Yeoman (67) has been named ambassador for the Relay for Life Dunedin, and will take a leading role in the giant community event, to be held over 24 hours from noon on Saturday, March 28, at the Caledonian Ground, Logan Park.
Along with cutting the ribbon to officially start the event, the Dunedin woman will lead the survivors’ lap, and will tell her story during the emotional candlelight ceremony.
Planning for the Relay for Life is in full swing and registrations from more than 90 teams include close to 1000 participants.
Last week, Mrs Yeoman met 2018 Relay for Life ambassador Ana Mapusua to discuss the role and learn more about the event.
“Being ambassador was a wonderful experience for me, and I’m sure it will be very special for Natalie as well,” Mrs Mapusua said.
In a departure from previous events, Mrs Yeoman will perform one of her own songs during the candlelight ceremony, which will also feature performances by singer-songwriters Kylie Price and Jenny Mitchell.
Music has been a constant joy for Mrs Yeoman, who retired at the end of last year after 14 years teaching at George St Normal School.
During her time at the school, she wrote numerous school shows, created a songbook, and recorded an album of original songs.
“Singing with the children has always brought me to life,” she said.
“I have found it emotionally healing.”
The healing power of music is of vital importance for Mrs Yeoman, who lives with an incurable cancer diagnosis, after her breast cancer was misdiagnosed and led to multiple secondary tumours.
A wife to Selwyn, mother of five, and grandmother of 10, Mrs Yeoman has explored her experiences, and her reflections on life, in her book A Maze of Grace, published by The Cuba Press late last year.
“In the book, I talk about coming to terms with the fact that I have cancer, and also that I was misdiagnosed,” she said.
“It is my story of going through all of that, and how I found a way to live with it, and to live a good, positive life.
“My hope is that people with cancer diagnoses and their families will find it helpful and useful.”
Relay for Life Dunedin is held every second year in Dunedin, and is a chance for the community to remember loved ones lost to cancer, support those battling the disease, and come together as a community to fight back.
Team registrations are now open, visit www.relayforlife.org.nz for details.