Under some added pressure inherent with the new beach venue, overcoming the challenges of limited access to the site and a torrential downpour that occurred minutes after setting it all up, the 2011 Relay for Life organizers still pulled off one terrific event! Dr. Loan Lam was this year’s Chairman with Vanessa Warner as co-chair. “We have more than surpassed our goal and had 22 teams that participate in the walk,” said Melissa Felice Executive Director of the Marco Island Unit for the American Cancer Society. “Marriott’s Crystal Shores was very accommodating when the rain hit providing everyone shelter. Cater Masters provided the complimentary Survivors and Care Tenders dinner. The Lely football team loaded and unloaded the set up. The Keller Williams team, amongst others, walked all night long. There were hot dogs, hamburgers, smoothies, jambalaya and pulled pork. Zumba dancing,bounce house, movie on the beach and lots of activities were available at the various booths.”
Each year, participants walk laps around a course throughout the night to symbolize the fight against cancer must continue. The first lap is for cancer survivors, the second lap includes caregivers and subsequent laps are for anyone whose life has been touched by cancer in some way. Luminaries purchased in memory of someone lost to cancer or in honor of someone who is, or has, battled cancer.
Relay teams form and each team’s members take turns walking laps. One observer commented this year’s Survivor Lap was the most touching they had witnessed. “It brought on tears.” Another participant said the most heartfelt moment was when the bagpiper played and everyone walked the track together.
Jan Zilch, a volunteer found walking the beach all night was breath taking. Miranda owner of La Miranda’s said she is already planning for next year!