As you begin to read this article, take a moment to consider the ways that cancer has impacted your life. Maybe you have never personally battled cancer, but you will find that it won’t take long to come up with a list of friends, family members, co-workers and acquaintances that have struggled with this ugly and unwelcome disease. Aware of the fact that cancer affects everyone in one form or another, The American Cancer Society (ACS) will be hosting its Relay for Life on Marco Island at the Marriott’s Crystal Shores Resort on Saturday, April 30th.
For nearly twenty-five years people from all walks of life have participated in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. This 24-hour event is held at different times of the year and at different locations all over the United States. The Relay for Life event began in the mid-eighties, thanks to a doctor in Tacoma, Washington, who was hoping to raise awareness for the need for cancer research. After circling a track for 24 hours, this doctor not only raised a staggering $27,000, but also created one of today’s most popular fundraisers for cancer research.
Marco Island’s Relay for Life will be held on the beach at 600 S. Collier Blvd. The Marriott’s Crystal Shores will be the official parking and entrance for the event. The event is made upof relay teams which sign up ahead of time and raise money by many different means. A track will be set up on the beach surrounded by booths that each participating team will host. During the event members of each team will take turns circling the track. Their booths are manned by volunteers and team members and will all provide something different. Starbucks, a national sponsor, will hold a booth selling coffee, iced tea and hot chocolate. All of the proceeds will go to the ACS.
Local realty group, Keller Williams, will be participating with a team of nearly twenty. The “KW Kastaway’s” booth will sell raffle tickets to win a number of items. One such item is a diorama of condos along the beach made of $118 worth of lottery tickets. Also, Keller Williams employee, Donna Cottrell, a 30-year cancer survivor, will be auctioning off a quilt she has made out of past Relay for Life t-shirts. Their team goal is to raise $2500 for ACS. La Miranda Spa of Marco Island will be hosting a team as well. Their goal is to raise $100 a day for 30 days.
With nearly thirty teams signed up to walk at the event, there is sure to be plenty do, see and purchase all in the name of a good cause. The event begins at 9:00 a.m. when teamswill begin to set up their tents. At 3:00 p.m. the relay officially begins. Live entertainment will be provided from 3:00 until 11:00 p.m. on a large stage that will face the relay track. At 11:00 a movie will be featured on the stage. Teams will walk through the night and finish at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday.
The Crystal Shores will also host a Survivor Dinner at 5:30 for those participating. Any cancer survivor is welcome to attend. The dinner is in their honor and is also provided for caregivers of those with cancer. When the dinner is finished, all survivors, caregivers and supporters will meet back at the track for the most touching part of the evening. At sunset the Luminaria Ceremony will take place. Small white bags are placed around the track in honor of someone who has lost their life to cancer or is a cancer survivor. At sunset each bag is lit to form a bright white ring around the track. A lap is walked in silence to remember loved ones that were lost to this terrible disease.
The money raised during Relay for Life is mainly used for cancer research. By investing in this critical research, the American Cancer Society is helping to reach its goal of “A World with More Birthdays.” Money raised will also go to the local Marco Island ACSUnit. The local chapter hosts other fundraisers but most importantly helps those suffering with cancer. The chapter organizes support groups and also hosts a “wig room.” Those battling the physical effects of cancer can make an appointment and meet with a professional cosmetologist here. They are given tips on wigs and ways to do their hair and make-up so they can feel more comfortable with their outer appearance. One of the most important aspects of Relay for Life is celebrating the lives and stories of cancer survivors. Marco’s local ACS Unit celebrates as well as supports these brave people every day.
The Relay for Life could not be possible without all the volunteers, survivors, caregivers and donations made. It is not too late to volunteer or to donate time or money to the upcoming event. To be a part of this event is to celebrate the lives of those who have fought back against cancer and have won. It is also to remember the lives of those lost. It is a chance for people to come together to celebrate life, love and “a world with more birthdays.” Visit www.relayforlife.org to learn more.
Relay for Life Teams
- Mutual of Omaha
- Keller William
- Lely Key Club
- Marriott Spa
- Marriott Luminaria
- La Miranda – Spa LaLa
- Marco Crushers – Carl Meyer
- Hideaway Beach
- Hula Honeys
- Randy Jones – Friends of Judy
- Aloha Grill – Marva
- Accurate Air
- Affordable Landscaping
- Island Trends
- Lely Classics
- Marco Island Academy
- Hoby West Coast
- Marco Island Fire Dept