Record numbers for day of remembrance

DEBBIE McGrath met her dynamic husband when she was completing a masters in art.

Vincent McGrath was the head of the University of Tasmania's school of visual and performing arts at Inveresk. It would be a mutual love of all things creative that brought the pair together.

Following less than 10 years of marriage, Mrs McGrath cared for Vincent as he fought a brain tumour. The tumour quickly took his mobility and his ability to communicate.

The cancer came in the same year as his well- deserved retirement, earnt after years of battling for Inveresk to become the arts precinct it is now.

"[The brain tumour] just came out of nowhere, and I guess that's how life is," Mrs McGrath said.

"We had plans to build a house and do all these great things, but he started to have a little problem with his hand.

"The doctor picked up it was more than that and from the moment he got his diagnosis, he just stopped."

Mrs McGrath had to learn to adjust to life as a full-time carer.

"You give everything of yourself to them," Mrs McGrath said. "With Vince, he became so dependent on me - I was the only one who could understand him because he couldn't speak.

"You become the complete organiser for someone else's life."

Professor McGrath died in 2012.

This was Mrs McGrath first year as a committee member for the Cancer Council's Relay for Life - the charity's biggest fund- raising event.

The Relay for Life was held in six centres throughout the state and aimed to raise $1 million in total.

Launceston's event finished at noon yesterday.

Relay for Life project manager Ashlee Walker said a record number of people hit the track overnight.

Mrs McGrath, who now spends her time painting and as a volunteer for the Cancer Council, said it was clear everyone involved shared a common bond.

"Although there's the solemn remembrance part of it, it is also a celebration of sorts - we were privileged to know the people we lost.

"You never forget, and the life is always there."

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