Relay for Life fundraiser steps off this Saturday
The annual Relay For Life of Greater Lee County will step off at Cypress Lake High School this Saturday to help the American Cancer Society attack cancer from every angle.
The 12-hour event starts at 9 a.m. and the public is invited to take part.
“We not only participate in Relay For Life because of people who are currently going through cancer, we also participate for ourselves. For in the future anyone of us might hear the words ‘you have cancer’ and need to utilize the life changing services and research the American Cancer Society provides,” stated Ashley Robbin, event lead for the Lee Relay.
It’s true, you never know when it can happen to you. Carol Scott is now the marketing lead for the Lee Relay. She got involved in the Relay for Life for Team Pirates in 2008, and gathered her colleagues to form their own team after their corporate employer stopped doing Relay the year prior.
The Pirates went from being colleagues to being a family over the years, selflessly donating time and energy for a cause to fight cancer. But the team took a big hit this past year, when their long-time Pirate, Debbie, was diagnosed with breast cancer early in the fall.
“Everyone just rallied around her. We made sure she was taken care of and supported, she had amazing doctors and great healthcare providers. Her nurses were great,” said Scott, who has been relaying with Debbie, who asked that her last name not be used, for the past 11 years.
By their dedication to relaying, the Pirates have become the best support system for others when cancer becomes a reality- especially when it’s one of their own.
It was only two years prior that Debbie’s sister passed away from breast cancer. Thanks to Relay, Debbie was already equipped with the passion, resources, and support system to walk through it with her.
When it happens to someone they know, or themselves, teams like the Pirates take it personally. They help their comrades fight cancer furiously, just as any family member or friend would do for their loved one. Battling cancer is a team effort.
Finding Joy Amidst the Pain
“At the relay, everyone feels the survivor’s pain and joy,” said Scott.
One may wonder, what kind of “joy” is there associated with cancer?
“The joy comes from knowing you have a huge amount of people supporting you – it’s overwhelmingly beautiful,” she said. “The joy is knowing the strides that the medical community has made for cancer in recent years.”
“Look at Debbie – she’s got a lot of joy. She just beat breast cancer.”
Debbie will be one of the honored survivors for the 2019 relay.
A Movement Against Their Biggest Rival
The big Greater Lee County Relay is not only an annual event, it is a movement that happens all year round to fight cancer.
“Relay stays alive because we have a real grassroots community who believes in the cause,” said Scott, who credits the individuals, organizations, and suppliers who support them.
“What we want people to know is beating our biggest rival takes more than just breakthroughs in research. It takes things like our 24/7 helpline and giving free rides to chemotherapy. We help everyone within our immediate community take care of something in their personal life they need help with. Transporting patients to therapy, if family has to stay in a lodge or hotel-we take care of that for them, too. By joining Relay for Life community, you can help the American Cancer Society attack this problem from every angle,” said Scott.
What to expect at this year’s Relay
Reaching 25 countries, the Relay for Life is a worldwide experience happening right in our own backyard. This year, the Greater Lee County Relay has so far raised $109,000 toward their $160,000 goal. With the combination of support from the community as well as local sponsors like Arthrex and Lee Health, the Lee Relay is optimistic and excited it participation will help them reach their goal.
Twentieth Judicial Circuit State Attorney Amira Fox will be the Survivor Speaker at opening ceremonies at 10 a.m.
Following, the relay will feature games, activities, food and drink vendors, live music, plenty of kids activities, and relay races to raise money for local cancer initiatives.
There will also be a luminaria ceremony at 8 p.m. to commemorate those who are sick with or have passed from cancer. Bagpipes will play before a moment of silence as luminaria bags donated by surviving loved ones, are lit during the event’s last hour.
It’s never to late to join or donate to the Relay for Life of Greater Lee County. Visit RelayForLife.org or www.relayforlife.org/greaterleefl