The American Cancer Society of Marco Island is excited to announce that Relay For Life of Marco Island is scheduled for April 18-19 at Mackle Park. Relay for Life is the single largest fundraising event in the world, and in 2015, we are recognizing 30 years of raising funds so that researchers can find treatments, preventative measures and cures for cancer.
For Relayers around the world, this anniversary is particularly meaningful as the founder of Relay For Life, Dr. Gordy Klatt, passed away last month from heart failure after a long struggle with cancer himself. This year, in addition to celebrating and remembering our local survivors and those we have lost, we will be walking to honor him and his vision to create an event that would serve as the cornerstone of fundraising for the American Cancer Society.
For 30 years, Relay For Life has been basically the same with little change to the “formula” for the event. This year, we are being given some flexibility in how we stage our event that should make it even more successful, and I hope these changes will attract more volunteers to our team! The changes include a new committee structure that spreads out the workload to minimize the time commitment for most positions and the option to shorten the event to better match the needs of the community. As most of you know, Relay For Life has traditionally been an overnight event (that is no longer a mandatory requirement), and our new committee will be deciding what hours make the most sense for us. Don’t worry, we will still have our traditional opening ceremony, survivor/caregiver laps and reception, luminaria ceremony and closing ceremony!
Relay For Life has three main objectives: Celebrate (our survivors), Remember (those we have tragically lost) and Fight Back (support the mission by getting the word out and fundraising for research and services). Relay For Life is not a walk or a run but a movement where teams of individuals, businesses and others work together to raise awareness by holding an event that everyone in the community can participate in, attend and enjoy. Yes, we walk the track but in a team format taking turns throughout the event so no one has to walk the entire time (although some do). People of all ages can participate in Relay — it is a true family affair, and for the committee and all the teams, a labor of love.
What should you do if you want to learn more and/or become involved? Whether you are an avid Relayer or brand new to the event, please join us at the Committee Rally on Aug. 26, at 5:30 PM at the Marco Island Fire Station training room. Come meet our new chair, Jamie Bergen, and other committee members who will be there to brief you on Relay and to share with you the roles available and job descriptions for each of them. This is an informational event, and there will be no pressure to commit on the spot. We want to expand our team and need volunteers with a variety of backgrounds, interests and skills who are passionate about ending this disease.
I hope you will consider taking a few minutes to join us on Aug. 26 and learn about the revamped Relay For Life and how you can help make a difference in someone’s life. I look forward to meeting you there!
This is an ongoing series of columns dedicated to informing the Marco Island community about The American Cancer Society, the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service. The Marco Island American Cancer Society office is located at 583 Tallwood, Unit 101 and is open daily from 9AM-5PM. For more information about volunteer opportunities, events and services please contact Lisa Honig at 239-642-8800 ext. 3891.