The American Cancer Society Relay for Life Kickoff event on Saturday October 17 was a fun and informative way to start the relay season.
This year organizers changed up the routine and held a mini-Relay for Life inside the Mackle Park recreational center. The new kickoff format allowed visitors to mingle, ask questions and get a taste of what the day of the event will be like.
Committee members and volunteers hosted tables set up in a circle, reminiscent of the actual Relay for Life event in the park. They registered teams, answered questions and provided information to a steady stream of visitors.
Volunteers explained to first time registrants that Relay for Lifeis not a race, but a day-long event, celebrating survivors, honoring those fighting cancer and remembering those we have lost to the disease.
Making kickoff fun, there were games and activities for the kids and plenty to snack on like fresh popcorn, donuts and Starbucks coffee. Kristin Rotkvich and Brandie Osborn from the Marriott volunteered to paint the children’s faces. Door prizes added to the excitement of the day.
Relay for Life is a family-friendly event, and kickoff was no different. The room was lively with the sounds of children having fun. Patty Reilly and her granddaughter Violet, age 3, who “come to the park a lot” were there to “learn more about Relay for Life.”Yoga instructor Lindsey Walters brought her children Rosalie, age 10 and Max, age 8, who both enjoyed the face painting.
Amidst the festivities, a luminaria display was a reminder of why many of us participate in Relay for Life. In attendance was Keller Williams realtor Allen Sagan, who lost his father last March to cancer. The loss was right before last year’s relay, and committee member Raul Medina bought a luminaria in honor of Allen’s father. The gesture moved Allen, who said that at that time he made the decision to get involved in Relay for Life. Though still grieving, he thought to himself “next year, I want to get involved in this,” adding, “Ihave to do something.”
Cathy Nelson is this year’s event chair for the Marco Island Relay for Life. Last year Marco Island raised more than $280,000, making it the third highest Relay for Life fundraiser in the State of Florida. So far twelve teams have registered for Relay 2016, and many more are expected in the coming months.
Relay for Life will take place on April 9, 2016 from 10 AM to 10 PM at Mackle Park, 1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island. To register a team go to the American Cancer Society website at www.relay.acsevents.org. For questions call the Marco Island American Cancer Society office at 239-642-8800. To keep up-to-date on the Marco Island Relay for Life, “like” their Facebook page – “American Cancer Society Relay For Life Marco Island Unit.”