The American Cancer Society’s Third Annual Relay For Life of Hope raised over $50,000 and inspired children of all ages to join the fight against cancer. Held May 21st and 22nd on the field at Christ Church United Methodist in Fort Lauderdale, Relay For Life of Hope was one of over 5,000 Relay For Life events across the country and internationally this year. Relay For Life is a 17-hour community event which brings people of all ages together to celebrate cancer survivors, remember those lost to cancer and to fight back against cancer.
This year’s Relay For Life of Hope included 20 teams and attracted more than 300 community members and participants. With new teams this year from host site Christ Church and Christ Church School, children and families became an even larger part of the event this year. The day was recognized as “Relay For Life of Hope Day” with official proclamations from Broward County Mayor Ken Keechl and Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler.
Dr. Marnie Kaplan, Breast Surgical Oncologist at Holy Cross Hospital and Mission Chair for the event, offered words of inspiration and hope on the progress made to end this disease. Opening Ceremonies concluded with a “Kids Against Cancer” lap around the track. Over 100 cancer survivors and their caregivers were recognized during Opening Ceremonies and again at a special dinner in their honor. Following a beautiful sunset, a moving luminaria service offered a time of quiet reflection to honor those lost to cancer and to celebrate survivors.
Alex Shanks, Pastor at Christ Church in Fort Lauderdale remarked, “When Holy Cross Hospital and the American Cancer Society approached us to partner with them in this important community event, we jumped at the opportunity! The Relay For Life of Hope was started three years ago as a faith-based Relay, which was especially meaningful to our families and the community.”
With games, concessions, live music and entertainment for the whole family, this year’s Relay For Life of Hope included new teams from Christ Church and Christ Church School, American National Bank, Walgreens, HospiceCare of Southeast Florida, and Dignity Funeral Homes. Holy Cross Hospital and Holy Cross Medical Staff continued to play a significant role in the event as sponsors and were represented by 12 separate teams. While the event committee worked hard to recruit other faith-based and secular organizations, the spiritual aspect made this Relay For Life event unique.
“As Broward County’s only Catholic hospital, Holy Cross values the role spirituality plays in the healing process,” said Dr. Kaplan of the Bienes Cancer Center at Holy Cross. “We were honored to support Relay For Life of Hope for the third consecutive year and moved by the presence of so many cancer survivors.
Prior to the event, John Knox Village in Pompano Beach raised over $10,000, which supported this event with a “Mini Relay”. A “Mini Relay” is a Relay For Life event, which includes most of the elements of “Relay” but is not an overnight event.
A world with less cancer is a world with more birthdays! As the official sponsor of birthdays and thanks to events like Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society is saving lives by helping people stay well and get well, and by finding cures and fighting back. As a community, we can help. Learn more by calling the American Cancer Society at 954-564-0880 or visit www.relayforlife.org\hopefl.
Pictured, left to right: Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, Bonnie Dissette, Commissioner Bruce Roberts and Mark Dissette, SVP/HealthPlex Administrator.