Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Eirinn Abu Raises Funds For Relay For Life


Eirinn Abu with his wife, Brandy

Eirinn Abu with his wife, Brandy

The Relay For Life (RFL) is a signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. This community-based global movement is a team event that has been leading the fight against cancer since 1985 by celebrating survivors, remembering loved ones lost, and vowing to stay on track until a cure is found. In 2017, the Relay For Life of Marco Island placed first in fundraising for the state of Florida. They plan to do it again in 2018. The American Cancer Society and the Wesley United Methodist Church recently hosted a fundraiser that helped kickstart the success of that goal.

Grammy-nominated saxophonist Eirinn Abu gave a performance that soared above the realm of music, lifting the audience on a spiritual journey of emotion, hope and determination to finish the fight against this deadly disease. Donna Cottrell, a cancer survivor and Fundraising Lead for RFL of Marco Island, welcomed the packed sanctuary with stories of her connection to the musician. Abu’s music would soothe Cottrell’s granddaughter to sleep when she was only 2 years old. When Cottrell’s husband passed away a few years ago, Abu’s music was the last music he heard before closing his eyes to rest in peace. And Abu’s ethereal sounds were a comfort to Cottrell when she was faced with health problems of her own.

Luminaria honor those in the fight against cancer, and remember those we have lost.

Luminaria honor those in the fight against cancer, and remember those we have lost.

For Eirinn Abu, this will be the 30th Relay For Life in which he has participated. As the leader of Team Eirinn Abu, he thanked the audience for attending the event, as in his words, he hopes to be the #1 fundraising team! He encouraged everyone to attend the event April 7 from 3 to 9 PM at Veterans Community Park, saying “You don’t have to run a race! That’s not what Relay is. It is an event to raise awareness of what the American Cancer Society is doing to fight this disease.” Indeed, the Relay For Life is not an athletic event. It is a community event in the celebration of life.

Eirinn Abu performing at the ACS fundraiser. Photos by Maureen Chodaba

Eirinn Abu performing at the ACS fundraiser. Photos by Maureen Chodaba

Abu moved the audience with his renditions of “Hallelujah” and the theme from the movie Titanic. He told the story of a friend named Jasmine, a young single woman diagnosed with breast cancer who not only survived the disease but went on to find and marry the love of her life. His performance of The Prayer was dedicated to her. His breathtaking performance of “Unchained Melody” brought to life the beautiful memories of his friend, West Palm Beach news anchor Kristin Hoke who passed away from metastatic breast cancer in 2010. Abu’s soulful performance of “Amazing Grace” revealed his gratitude to God for giving him the ability to help others through his music.

Perhaps it was his rendition of the worship song, “Mary, Did You Know,” that raised the audience to the greatest height of emotion as the Luminaria Ceremony honored cancer survivors and remembered those who have passed.

The American Cancer Society cordially invites you to attend the Relay For Life on April 7 from 3 to 9 pm at Veterans Community Park. Admission is free. The event will feature music, food and fun and will conclude with the very poignant Luminaria Ceremony accompanied by the live music of Eirinn Abu. Cancer survivors, along with their families and caregivers are invited to attend a Survivor’s Dinner on Tuesday, April 3 at 6 PM at the New Life Community Church, adjacent to Veterans Community Park. Admission is free, but your RSVP is appreciated.

For more information, to register your own team for the Relay For Life and to RSVP for the Survivor/Caregiver Dinner, please contact your American Cancer Society at 239-984-3281 or Sue.Olszak@cancer.org.

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