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Second effort pushes Relay fund raiser past goal

By Staff | Jun 12, 2011

Although the initial Relay For Life was canceled last month due to bad weather, the teams were able to raise $150,000 – surpassing their goal – by holding a makeup event at Cape Harbour on Saturday.
Relay For Life Chair Donna Germain said they were $20,000 short of their goal going in because the original relay, held May 14, was rained out two and a half hours after it began at Ida Baker High School.
Ten teams then re-gathered at Cape Harbour Saturday night with tables of goodies for purchase to raise additional funds for Relay For Life.
Teams also walked in a small circle, holding signs or walking in groups to honor those they know are battling cancer and for those they lost.
Among them, Diane and her daughter Angel Gearhart walked side by side while holding a sign that had a picture of Patti Schnell, in whose name this year’s Relay for Life was chaired. Schnell was diagnosed with cancer in December and lost her battle in April. Her team, the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association, raised more than $2,500 this year.
At 9 p.m. a Luminaria Ceremony was held. Purple and white bags filled with sand and a candle bearing a name of a person touched by cancer, outlined a path.
Germain said Saturday’s event was held to honor and remember the survivors, as well as to raise funds in a fun fashion.
Ashley Smith with the American Cancer Society said the money made Saturday night, along with the funds raised earlier, will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
The Relay fund raising process is a year-long effort.
In total, 60 teams helped Relay For Life exceed its goal this year by raising $150,000, an increase from last year’s amount of $142,000. The teams began raising money last September by holding various fund raisers, garage sales and bake sales.
Relay For Life Vice Chair Crystal Kaczynski said the teams this year went above and beyond.
Iris Hanney, captain of the Came to Believe team, said coming into Saturday’s event they had raised $21,397, which exceeded their goal of $20,000. She said she has participated in the event since her dad passed away to cancer 11 years ago.
Last year, her team raised $31,000, Hanney said.
Came to Believe has been the top team for the past four years.
“I am pretty impressed with the heart of Cape Coral,” she said. Hanney said not one small business turned her down when she asked for additional funds after the May 13 event was rained out.
Etta Triantos, a member of Came to Believe, said she was very happy they were given a second chance to raise more money Saturday night. She said she has participated in Relay for Life for the past five years. This year the event held a very personal meaning to her because her sister-in-law is battling colon cancer.
Relay For Life began in 1985 because a single person wanted to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Dr. Gordy Klatt, a surgeon from Tacoma, Wash., walked and ran around a track for 24 hours. Since then the event has grown to more than 3.5 million people participating in more than 5,000 communities in the United States, along with 19 other countries every year.
Teams can sign up for next year’s Relay for Life event by calling the American Cancer Society at 239-936-3113.