After months of preparation, the Relay for Life season kicked off last weekend along Fort Myers Beach behind the DiamondHead Beach Resort and Spa. With 16 teams on-site and hundreds of volunteers and participants, the island is very close to reaching its goal of $85,000 raised. As of the end of the Pirate-themed event last Sunday morning, approximately $75,000 was collected, but fund-raising isn't over until the goal is reached! This group is determined to put an end to cancer!
The day started with an opening ceremony and the National Anthem was sung by Town Mayor Terry Stewart, followed by a Survivor and Caregiver Lap, and then concluding with a Survivor Luncheon, kindly provided by DiamondHead Beach Resort and Spa.
After the conclusion of the opening ceremony and committee introductions, the fun began. Activities throughout the course of the 18-hour event included crab races, Zumba fitness programs, a performance by the Hot Flash Dancers, a scavenger hunt, a best pirate costume contest, a silent auction, a water balloon toss, a bags competition and so much more.
A beautiful view of the “Cure” Luminaria Ceremony, set up along the beach behind the DiamondHead, representing the strong fight volunteers with the Relay for Life and their loved ones are battling against cancer. So far, $75,000 was raised, but organizers aren’t giving up until they reach $85,000. Photo courtesy MICHELLE PHILLIPS.
After hours of preparing for the Luminaria Ceremony, at 8 p.m. the track was lined with candle-lit bags representing survivors, caregivers and loved ones who were taken by cancer. In the center of the track, the word "Cure" was spelled out, representing exactly what each and every one of the participants were there for working tirelessly to help find a cure for this horrible disease.
Into the wee hours of the morning, Pirates of the Caribbean movies were played, for those brave enough to stay awake for all 18 hours of the event, which wrapped up Sunday morning fairly quickly, due to stormy weather, but that was no challenge for those still out on the track.
SunStream Hotels and Resorts was proud to be the Presenting Sponsor for the event, as well as the host location for the second year in a row.
"With a company of almost 500 employees, many of us have been affected by cancer in one way or another. Many staff members have been caregivers, are survivors or have lost a loved one. It's close to all of our hearts, and that is why we have agreed to be the sponsor, as well as support the event, by sitting on the committee that helps make the event a success," said Michelle Phillips, SunStream employee and Activities and entertainment and online chair for the Fort Myers Beach Relay for Life.
All in all, the first of 19 Relay For Life events in the South Gulf Coast area was a huge success, and the bar has been set, and the excitement has started. Participants, committee members and staff members are committed to "Making Cancer Walk the Plank" this Relay season.
For more information about the Fort Myers Beach Relay for Life event, as well as event photos, contact Michelle Phillips, 765-4111, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit FMBRelay.com.