The 2011 Fort Myers Beach Relay for Life is ready to benefit the American Cancer Society at DiamondHead Resort at 2000 Estero Blvd. this weekend. The event begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 19 and marches on through 8 a.m. on Sunday.
So far, 15 teams have signed up either online at www.relayforlife.org/fortmyersbeachfl or through other avenues. Team members are gearing up to take turns walking around a track on the beachfront to raise money and help defeat the disease. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the 18 hours.
Relay for Life gives one a chance to celebrate, remember and fight back through fundraising.
Cancer survivors are expected to make the first lap -so-called the Survivor's Lap- while being followed by their caregivers. Afterwards, at 3 p.m., survivors are welcome to a special lunch at Chloes at no charge.
The teams will compete to raise the most money by selling crafts, food, drinks even tickets to go on a waterslide. To make sure everyone's energy stays up, there will be themed laps, live music from local bands, kid-friendly movies on a giant video screen, Google competitions, relay Jeopardy, bingo, yoga, Zumba, poker laps, a silent auction, corn hole, Miss Relay competition, tug-o-war contest and more. In keeping with this year's theme of "Corral the Cure", Cat Country will be doing a live remote broadcast throughout the day at the Relay site.
At sunset, the luminaria ceremony will feature participants lighting candles and placing them inside sand-weighted paper bags. The bags become personalized once someone gives a donation and writes the name of a cancer honoree to honor the person who has succumbed to the disease.
Anyone interested in creating a team, signing up on an existing team or just coming out to participate is welcomed. Go to the above website or call Relay for Life Event Coordinator Audra Holowesko at 936-1113 (ext. 3903).
"The Fort Myers Beach Relay is always special in a lot of ways. we have a lot of veteran teams and a lot of members have really stepped up," she said. "They are all mission-focused with the American Cancer Society. The ambience on the Beach is great as well. Our area is right on the sand. So, it truly is a beach event."
Holowesko says the goal to collect for the Corral the Cure is $70,000.
The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the world a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost,and fight back against the disease.
So far (as of Tuesday), cancer fighting teams and captains this year include Alliant Association Management (Heather Grope); AMI (Marja Cook); Estero Islanders (Terry Nindl); Esterra Spa & Salon (Krissy Simone); Fish Tale Marina (Al Durrett); Fort Myers Beach Community Foundation (Jeanne Butzer); Hot Heads on the Beach (Randi Ardente); K-Kids (Eric Tibbs); Indian Creek Resort (Larry Markiewicz); Royal Pelican (Vi Flynn); SunStream Hotels & Resorts (Jen Friede); Team Bay Oaks (Irma Divine); Team Chapel by the Sea (Mariann Griffin); Team One Flight Up (Susan Krajewski); and Team VIP (Alice Dickson).
--information provided by event coordinator Audra Holoweski and publicity chair Keri Hendry