Friday, December 3, 2021

Let’s All Relay For Life!

Submitted Photo: Luminary help us honor and remember loved ones affected by cancer.

Submitted Photo: Luminary help us honor and remember loved ones affected by cancer.


 Nikkie Sardelli

The American Cancer Society Marco Island Unit had their Relay Kickoff Party on November 7th at the Marco Island Marriott to celebrate the start of the 2017 Relay For Life season. For many on Marco Island, the spirit is in the air, and team fundraising plans are already in the making! Last year we had 26 teams, over 140 registered participants, and countless more who either contributed in a team fundraising event or came to Relay For Life. With all of this combined effort, together we were able to raise over $300,000 and are ranked third in the State of Florida. The 2017 Relay For Life event will be held on April 1, 2017 from 4-10 PM at Veterans’ Community Park. New to this year’s event, we will be hosting our First Annual BBQ Cookout!

For those who have not yet participated in this community event, I’d like to share with you what exactly Relay For Life is, and some history about the event. The American Cancer Society Relay For Life event is a life-changing experience that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to Celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, Remember loved ones lost, and Fight Back against the disease. Each year, more than four million people in over 20 countries take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer.

Fundraising for Relay For Life is a year round occurrence for teams and participants, and our money raised is not solely based on the day of event. Teams hold fundraisers throughout the season, ask for support from their friends, family and the community, in order to raise money for their team. This creates friendly competition among all the teams, and on event day they will have their signs displayed telling you their rankings. Relay For Life is a community-wide event that is run by a committee of volunteers. It is an event made up of teams from around the community, fundraising for our mission. It isn’t a run or race, but there is a track set up where participants may walk (or be wheeled) around in order to signify that cancer never sleeps. It is a way for an entire community to come together in order to help fight back against this disease that has taken too many. Around the outskirts of the track, each team puts up a tent where they will be holding different fun activities or raffles. It is a simple way to make a big difference in the lives of those battling cancer.

At Relay For Life, we invite all our community’s cancer survivors to come and enjoy a Survivor Walk around the small track at the beginning of the event, and afterwards we invite them to the Survivor Dinner where they can share a meal, their experiences, and enjoy some fun games. To wrap up the evening, the most powerful part of the event is our Luminaria ceremony; where paper bags illuminated with candles inside are displayed around the entire track and are bearing the name of someone who has either passed away or has fought and survived their cancer battle. Luminaria bags can be purchased for a donation fee of your choice throughout the season, and will be displayed at Relay. Each team is selling luminaria bags, as well as purchasing through our local office, or our website.

If you would like to start or join a team, please visit our website at You may begin fundraising for 2017 season immediately after sign-up! Our website will also give you helpful tips and more information about the event. The Marco Island office is located at 583 Tallwood Street, Suite 101. For all questions please contact Nikkie Sardelli at 239-642-8800 ext. 3894 or Let’s All Relay For Life Together!

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 concern 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 St., Suite 101 and is open daily from 9 AM-5 PM. For more information about volunteering or any of the events mentioned in this column please contact Sue Olszak or Lisa Honig at 239-642-8800 ext. 3890.

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