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Relay for Life set for this weekend in Miami Springs

 
 
The organizers of this weekend's Relay for Life are hoping for a large turnout similar to years past — if not better.
The organizers of this weekend's Relay for Life are hoping for a large turnout similar to years past — if not better.
Gazette Photo/WALLY CLARK

River Cities Gazette

    It’s that time of year again when residents from all over the River Cities area unite for a common goal.

    This Saturday, April 27 at noon, Relay for Life will kick off their annual event on the Miami Springs Circle. Many months of hard work and dedication will come together at this weekend’s Relay For Life event, which will be held for 18 hours because “Cancer Never Sleeps.”

    Individuals and teams will camp out at the Circle, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the pathway at all times throughout the evening. Teams have done plenty of fundraising already but there will be a lot of creative fundraisers going on during the Relay.

    The Relay for Life brings together friends, families, businesses, schools, churches and people from all walks of life. The goal is furthering the American Cancer Society’s mission to save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

    Sponsors of this year’s Relay include Mason Vitamins, Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa, Crackers Casual Dining, Miami Springs Pharmacy, Resolve Marina, Sunbelt Rentals, Starlight Dance Studio, and many more.

     Keep your eyes open for the special Relay For Life purple shirts worn by cancer surviviors who are living proof that cancer can be defeated. The Relay opens up the day with the Survivors Lap and Caregiver Lap around the circle. Being a part of the Survivors Lap allows survivors to celebrate what they’ve overcome, while at the same time inspiring and motivating their community to fight.

    “Relay For Life is a unique opportunity to come together to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remembered those we’ve lost, and fight back against the disease,” said Sandra Ortiz, Relay For Life event chair. “Many of the participants are cancer survivors, which serves as a reminder that the community is not immune to this disease and that by participating in Relay, we are joining together to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.”

    There will be music, food, entertainment, cancer awareness and fun activities for the whole family going on throughout the day. Jazzercise will be performing the “Half-day Show” at 2 p.m. There will also be live music, a yoga demonstration, and for the first time ever you can sing your heart out at Karaoke Time.

    In addition to all of the fun at the Relay, you’ll witness a lot of healthy competition among many local businesses, clubs and organizations to see who can raise the most money. Each team has been raising funds for many months at events like yard sales, holiday gift wrapping, scrapbooking events, CPR classes, and many more events, all to inspire hope by raising funds and awareness for those facing the disease.

    “I relay because I have seen some many of my family, friends and neighbors be affected in one way or another by this terrible thing called CANCER!” said former Miami Springs councilwoman Grace Bain. Bain is this year’s advocacy chair and has been involved with Relay For Life for about eight years. She is also volunteering on a team led by Gisela Kelly and Paul Bithorn, who are part of the Miami Springs/VG Optimist Club. They will be selling hamburgers, pork sandwiches, desserts and even breakfast pizza at the event.

    Woody’s West End Tavern Team is led by cancer survivor Elaine Martin. “The American Cancer Society turns 100 years old in 2013, and their new motto is, FINISH THE FIGHT,” said Martin. “This fits the way I view cancer to a T. Sixty years ago, 1 out of 3 people diagnosed with cancer survived.  Today, thanks in part to the work of the American Cancer Society, 2 out of 3 will survive. Let’s make it 3 out of 3. Join us to help finish the fight.”

    The Woody’s West End Tavern team will be selling delicious hot dogs and sauerkraut.

    During the Luminaria Ceremony, votive candles are lit inside of personalized bags to shine a light on the fight against cancer. This special ceremony takes place at 9 p.m. and is in remembrance of those lost to cancer. Bags will be available for purchase for a $5 donation. The power of this ceremony lies in providing an opportunity for people to share their grief and find hope.

    “Everyone relays for their own personal reason. My Papa (my father’s father), passed away from cancer a couple of years ago, so the Relay is something very special to me,” said Jessica Drew.

    Drew is team Captain of Drew’s Crew and is the Relay sponsorship chairperson. “Whenever I Relay, or do anything having to do with the event, it makes me feel like it’s time being spent with my Papa. Going through this has made me realize that time is a precious thing, and it needs to be spent wisely.”

    The journey to end cancer starts with just a single step. If you would like to help, volunteers are still needed with set-up, take-down and cleanup. The Relay committee will also sign off for any students in need of volunteer hours. Anyone who is interested in helping can show up at the Circle on Saturday at 9 a.m. Or you can call 305-779-2845 or 305-863-786 for more information.

 

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