Sunday, March 29, 2020

Relay for Life Early Bird Party

Paula Warner with Relay for Life co-chair and daughter, Vanessa Warner. Submitted

Paula Warner with Relay for Life co-chair and daughter, Vanessa Warner. Submitted

The American Cancer Society held an ‘Early Bird Party’ at Stilt’s, located in the Marriott’s Crystal Shores. So why would someone want to party now for an event that won’t happen until 2011? “To pick a prime location for the camp-out,” said Vanessa Warner, Vice-Chair for the 2011 Relay for Life, while showing where the site plan was available for viewing. “The 2011 ACS Relay for Life will take place here on the beach. Teams that sign-up now get to choose a prime campsite around the track. Relay for Life works with teams.  Each team sets a goal and then holds unique events to reach that goal. Some teams set individual goals as well.”

When asked how she got involved in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, Vanessa said, “Everyone knows someone with cancer. For me, it was my grandmother, Ann McTigue. She died of breast cancer in 1998. Rarely can someone get beyond an ‘aunt’ when tracing cancer in a family.” Vanessa would know, she works

Co-Chair Vanessa Warner, Raul Medina and Dr. Loan Lam, Relay Chairperson.

Co-Chair Vanessa Warner, Raul Medina and Dr. Loan Lam, Relay Chairperson.

for Physician’s Regional Healthcare System. This is Vanessa’s first year working with ACS. Melissa Felice, Director of the Marco Island unit of the American Cancer Society, sought her involvement. Vanessa was born and raised on Marco Island.  “My dad was a firefighter, and my mother, Paula Warner, works at a timeshare resort.”

Vanessa, along with Melissa and Dr. Loan Lam, Chair of the 2011 Relay for Life campaign, began meeting in April to plan the Relay for Life. More get-togethers like this will take place about every two months to encourage and motivate the teams.  In the meantime, local businesses have started to pitch in: Stan’s honored the ACS one Sunday; Captain Brien’s Off the Hook Comedy Club will donate proceeds from their Josh Wolf show to the Relay; Island Trends plans to participate; and a Motorcycle Run is being planned. Marva and Jim Sutt’s team, along with Tara’s Steak and Lobster House and Gulf Coast Jewelers have an invitation-only cocktail party coming up. Individual and team events

Participants enjoy camaraderie. Submitted

Participants enjoy camaraderie. Submitted

will take place throughout the year beginning now, culminating with the two-day event on the beach.

“Even children get involved in the Relay and it’s great community service. This year, we are asking each child who wants to camp-out to set an individual goal of $100.00.  It’s truly amazing to see what the kids come up with. They perceive what they do as some small effort and then are surprised by how much money they raise!” Vanessa continues, “By signing up now, teams have ample time to plan a fun and effective  fundraising effort,” says Vanessa.

Relay for Life will hold the event on the beach outside Marriott Crystal Shores on April 30 through May 1, 2011.  Last year, the Relay raised over $112,000. “This year’s goal is $150,000.  To some people it may seem high, but we must do all we can to reach for it!  This disease is devastating the lives of so many!” For more information on how to participate contact Vanessa Warner at 239/250-3506 or email her at vanessa.cancerrelay@gmail.com.

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