Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Relay For Life

Raul Medina, Eric Venhuizen, Bonnie Zaikov, Joe LaBar, Steve Reynolds,Dr. Loam Lam, Wendy Rivera. Front from left: Kathy Cleland, Marsha Warnike,Jane Marlowe, Judy Mayo, Jamie Bergen. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

Raul Medina, Eric Venhuizen, Bonnie Zaikov, Joe LaBar, Steve Reynolds,Dr. Loam Lam, Wendy Rivera. Front from left: Kathy Cleland, Marsha Warnike,Jane Marlowe, Judy Mayo, Jamie Bergen. SUBMITTED PHOTOS

By Jane A. Marlowe

The Marco Island Unit of the American Cancer Society hosted the first meeting of the committee planning the Relay For Life of Marco Island which will be held at Charter Middle School on Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14, 2013.

Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, defines RELAY as a number of persons who relieve others in some work. In this case, the work is LIFE. Relay will celebrate its 28th year in 2013 and Relay For Life of Marco Island will endeavor to surpass its 2012 goal of $205,000 which led to a VIP Award for being in the top ten fundraising communities in Florida. Marco Island raised $216,000 and placed number six with Hideaway Beach Club the number two team in all of Florida, a proud accomplishment for our small community in difficult economic times.

Raul Medina, Event Chair and Manager of the Marco Island Sun Trust Bank and Judy Mayo, described their recent experience at the American Cancer Society Relay For Life Summit in Orlando. Judy and Cathy Nelson, both associates of Marco Island Marriott, are co chairs of Survivors/Caregivers for Relay. Marriott International Hotels and Resorts is a principal supporter of the American Cancer Society through its Spirit To Serve program and Sun Trust Bank Corporation is another loyal corporate sponsor.

They viewed powerful, moving videos of the progress made in the search of cures for many forms of cancer. They heard survivors’ stories of their battles with their illness and from families whose loved ones have succumbed to cancer. One mother recounted her struggle with the family’s health insurance company who refused to pay for her college age daughter’s treatments. Her daughter had missed so many classes due to her illness that the company claimed she no longer qualified for coverage.

After her daughter’s death, her mother exhausted her resources in an attempt to change such punitive restrictions. She finally sought the help of the American Cancer Society which helped her continue her David and Goliath battle. The mom even testified before Congress in an impassioned appeal to revoke the conditions which eliminated her daughter’s coverage.

She won in her state and ultimately a federal law was enacted, “Michelle’s Law,” which insures that a college student may remain on parental insurance even if illness prevents the student from regular attendance.

Dr. Loan Lam, chair of Sponsorships, is already working to find sponsors for at least 50 teams to walk Relay. Donna Cottrell, with Keller Williams Realty, and Team Development Chair for Relay 2013, has sent a challenge to CAMMI, Community Association Managers of Marco Island, to compete in raising funds for this most worthy cause.

A Kick-off Party will be held at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort on Monday, November 5th, 5:30-7:00 PM in the Presidential Suite. The party will be in celebration of all cancer Survivors and an opportunity to hear the details about Relay. Please come to the party and decide how you will help in the continuing fight to conquer cancer.

The Marco Island office of the American Cancer Society is ready to offer assistance and direction to all volunteers for Relay. Kathy Cleeland is Area Executive Director and Wendy Rivera is Administrative Assistant. The office is now located at 583 Tallwood Street, Unit 101, Marco Island. Telephone: 239-642-8800. Fax: 239-642-0027.

Check in with Coastal Breeze News for more information about what our residents, business and professional community are doing for Relay For Life of Marco Island. Let’s make the fight against cancer our personal commitment to one another.

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