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Relay For Life returns to Sanibel after six years to continue the battle on cancer

By Staff | Apr 1, 2015

The cancer survivors who meet every month at Timbers Restaurant and will be participating in the Relay For Life event Friday, April 10, starting at 4 p.m. at the Dunes Tennis and Golf Club on Sanibel, include (L to R) Judy Groninger, Mary Ann Lok, Illona Wolanin, Leslie (waitress at Timbers), Kathleen Tiesner, Jay Solomon, Moni Arnowitz, Carol Strange, Alessandra Menedez, Betty Abbott, Lise Bryant and Marie Monick. PHOTO PROVIDED

Cancer never stops, but neither will the survivors of it.

After a six-year layoff, the Relay for Life event returns to Sanibel and will be held Friday, April 10, starting at 4 p.m. and running through 10 p.m. at the Dunes Tennis and Golf Club.

The Relay for Life event has been held at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers for the last six years, and still will be, but an added event will now be on Sanibel once again.

“We missed it being on the island,” said Team Captain of the Survivors Carol Strange. “Our motto is ‘Relay like and island star.'”

The event will be a six-hour event, where survivors and participants walk a loop. Cancer survivors start the relay by walking the course and lighting luminaries, which represent someone who lost their battle with cancer.

The caregivers then will join in on the relay.

“Everyone just supports everyone, it’s a great event,” said Strange, who is a 13-year cancer survivor. “I worked in pathology for 40 years and knew what cancer can do, then one day I was a patient.”

Strange has extra motivation in the fight against cancer, with her grandson being a cancer survivor, as well.

The Sanibel group of survivors, which meet once a month, will be honoring three friends who have passed on in Lesley Godly, Roni Freer and Barbra Toll.

“We are walking in their memory,” Strange added.

Mary Ryan is also a Captain of the Care Givers this year, in which they have raised a good amount of money, as well.

The goal of this year’s Relay for Life on Sanibel is to raise $50,000, which will go to the American Cancer Society.

“Anyone is invited to take part and will be welcomed,” Strange said. “Everyone has a story, too, and everyone here is there to give support. I didn’t think I ever needed a support group, but people need you for support.”

The cancer survivors group will offer much emotional support, as well.

“We’re there to tell you that you can do it,” Strange said.

There will be plenty of food and drinks available during the Relay for Life event at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, which located at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel.

To donate, go to main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLCY15FL?pg=entry&fr_id=69054 or sign up. Or call Vilma Schwarz at 239-936-1113 extension 3914.