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Relay For Life: American Cancer Society fundraiser at Mariner begins tonight

By Staff | Apr 24, 2015

Relay for Life will take place on the Mariner High School campus this weekend to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

Annette Siner, Relay for Life chairperson, became involved as a committee member six years ago after falling in love with the event.

“I felt like I was doing something good for the community,” she said. “Everybody knows someone that has cancer.”

This year, Siner said they are hoping to raise more than $200,000, which is $20,000 more than last year.

The annual Relay for Life will begin at 6 p.m. today and end at 8 a.m. Saturday at Mariner High School, 701 Chiquita Blvd.

“People can come out and get involved,” she said, adding that all they have to do is just show up the night of the event.

Siner said the Relay for Life event has been held at Mariner High School the last few years because there are not too many houses around the campus. She said they tend to get a little noisy for the all night event.

Gordon Klatt, who died this past year, began the 24-hour Relay for Life run. In celebration of Relay for Life celebrating its 30th year, the theme for this weekend’s event is the ’80s. Those who attend are encouraged to dress in ’80s styles.

The 18-hour event is intended to share the life of someone who is diagnosed with cancer.

Siner said the event is started in the afternoon because it represents the time before someone is diagnosed with cancer. As the night goes on and it becomes later, it represents someone finding out they have cancer. She said as everyone becomes tired as the hours roll by, it represents someone going through cancer treatment. When 3 and 4 in the morning rolls around and everyone is exhausted, it represents the lowest point of cancer treatment.

Siner said as the sun comes up, it represents another day of surviving cancer and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“It’s a one day sacrifice not to sleep to do a walk,” she said.

The event will also include a luminary ceremony around 9 p.m. Siner said the ceremony provides the opportunity to celebrate survivors, as well as remember those who lost the battle to cancer.

In addition to attendees taking turns walking around the track for 18 hours, there are also numerous festivities taking place.

One of the biggest events is the Ms. Relay Pageant where guys dress up in drag, participate in a talent show and lip sync contest, and answer questions. Siner said they usually have a helicopter fly over and act like paparazzi during the pageant.

“It’s a lot of fun,” she said of the competition.

The SWAT team will be doing an obstacle course and a volleyball tournament will be held during Relay for Life.

This year there are 30 teams participating in the event, which is half of what they have had in past years.

“We are trying to recruit more teams for next year,” Siner said.

The teams will sell a variety of different food; whip cream pies, as well as many other items.

Siner said for just a $1, attendees can throw a pie in someone’s face.

For more information call Emily Teachout with the American Cancer Society at (239) 936-1113 ext. 3905.

Siner said they are always welcoming new people to help out with the Relay for Life committees.

“We are trying to recruit more people to help run the Relay for Life as well,” she said.