Saturday, January 22, 2022

ACS Survivor Dinner Celebrates Courage

Event Kicks Off This Saturday's Relay For Life

They have stood bravely in the face of danger upon hearing the resounding verdict, “You have cancer.” They have endured treatment protocols that have tested their physical and emotional endurances. And they have lived to share a message of hope by inspiring others with courage in leading the fight against this deadly disease. They are our cancer survivors, and they are indeed a force to contend with! They have learned to not only survive, but to thrive! Staff and volunteers of the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Marco Island recently honored these brave warriors at the annual Survivor Dinner at the New Life Community Church.

Close to 100 survivors, along with their families and friends enjoyed a delicious buffet. A smorgasbord of entrees, sides and desserts was donated by Café de Marco, Ciao Bella, Capri Fish House, Chop 239, Cocomo’s, CJ’s on the Bay, Da Vinci’s, Joey’s Pizza, Doreen’s Cup of Joe, Kretch’s, Little Bar, La Tavola, Pincher’s, Verdi’s and Winn Dixie. The festivities didn’t end there, as door prizes were donated by the Marco Island Hilton, Crystal Shores Marriott, JW Marriott Marco Island, Subway, Beebe’s Ice Cream, Seminole Casino and the Salty Dog. Floral arrangements donated by Marco Island Florist added just the right touch of elegance and grace.

The event was a kickoff for the Relay For Life of Marco Island, presented by Robert J. Flugger. “Relay,” as it is nicknamed, is a global movement and signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society that has led the fight against cancer since 1985. In 2017, the Relay For Life of Marco Island placed first in fundraising for the State of Florida.

Relay celebrates survivors and their caregivers as they open the ceremonies with their march around the track, symbolic of the fight against cancer that will not end until a cure is found. Relay remembers our loved ones lost to this terrible disease in the poignant Luminaria Ceremony, as beacons of light illuminate the sky with the promise of hope. And Relay fights back, as teams raise funds for the effort to eliminate cancer from our world!

Please join us at the Relay For Life of Marco Island, “Walking Through the Decades,” on Saturday, April 7 from 3 to 9 PM at Veterans Community Park. Admission is free. The event, emceed by DJ Steve Reynolds, will feature food and live entertainment all day. Opening ceremonies, including the presentation of the Sandy Holdgate Spirit of Relay Award and Survivor/Caregiver Lap will take place at 5:30 PM. The Luminaria Ceremony, accompanied by saxophone sensation, Eirinn Abu, will begin at 8:30 PM. Please join us to celebrate, remember and fight back.

Photos by Maureen Chodaba

Cancer survivor Megan Olsen with sons James and Nate and husband Rand.

Cancer survivors Colleen Walthour, Marva and Jim Sutt (seated) are surrounded by friends and loved ones.

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