Exactly one year ago, I embarked on a new role as the Unit Executive Director for the Marco Island Unit of the American Cancer Society, and what a year it has been. I knew when my husband and I chose Marco Island as our new home in 2007 it was full of friendly people who believed in community and supporting one another. What I have since learned working with all of our wonderful volunteers, board members and business leaders is how willing people are to give their time to support important causes such as the fight to find a cure for cancer.
We have had an exceptionally busy year with amazing results. In addition to our incredibly successful signature events — The Imagination Ball and Relay For Life (run by all volunteer committees) — this community went above and beyond in the fight against cancer. Hammock Bay hosted a luau and Curves held a fitness challenge, both to support breast cancer research. Port of the Islands Gun Club hosted a clay target shoot to support pediatric cancer research. Walker’s Marine held a fishing tournament to support brain cancer research, and Chico’s held a shopping event to support ovarian cancer research.
We were also honored to have been selected by the Island Country Club Foundation as a recipient of a grant for our summer camp and by CJ’s on the Bay as the recipient of proceeds from their 5th anniversary celebration. This is in addition to all of the fundraising that our teams did in support of Relay For Life. There was a sold out fashion show at Bistro Soleil, a calendar featuring local moms with beautiful cars, a casino night at Hideaway Country Club, a car wash at Progressive Auto, a purple art show supported by many of our local artists, a golf tournament, t-shirt and luminaria sales at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort and countless other fundraisers that contributed to the largest and most successful Relay For Life ever on Marco.
We also participated in two Collier County events this past summer and fall. First, several of our local restaurants participated in Stick a Fork in Cancer: Dolphin Tiki Bar, Crazy Flamingo, Sand Bar and 400 Pazzi’s at the Marriott. Then, many of you joined me as participants in the Cancer Prevention Study 3, and I’m happy to report that we exceeded our goal of enrolling 300,000 men and women nationwide with a projected result of 304,000. I am confident that we will all be involved in making history by contributing to the research necessary to find preventative techniques, new treatments and cures for cancer.
Participation in our Look Good Feel Better program and visits to our Resource Room have increased as more of you hear about our services and take advantage of them as you navigate through the stages of a cancer diagnosis. We have met so many wonderful men, women and children who are fighting this disease whose stories of hope and courage inspire us every day. In addition, our support group provides an outlet for survivors, caregivers and current patients to share their stories with others who have walked in their shoes.
Sue and I have made it our priority to be active in the community and to support other groups and activities as much as possible. With all that this community does for the American Cancer Society, it is the least we can do to give back as well. So, we want to say “THANK YOU” to everyone who has given time and/or treasure to the American Cancer Society in 2013. Your support allows us to keep a presence on Marco Island and provide much needed services to our community. I know that all of our survivors, caregivers and patients appreciate it more than you will ever know.
It has been a wonderful year, and with your continued support we are looking forward to doing so much more in 2014, starting with the Imagination Ball on Feb. 15, 2014, at the Marriott. I hope you will join us and ‘Give Your Heart To Finding A Cure’. Sue and I hope that you have enjoyed the holiday season and that you all have a happy and healthy 2014!
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 9 AM-5 PM.