Saturday, July 14th, Miami Beach: Volunteers for the American Cancer Society, cancer survivors, caregivers and friends gathered at the Miami Beach Convention Center to hold the 10th Annual Relay for Life of Miami Beach. This grassroots event is held in local communities all over our country to raise funds and awareness for cancer.
This year’s Relay, hosted indoors to beat the heat, was unique in several ways. It began at noon with the introduction of Noelia Gonzalez, a young Miami Beach survivor who led the traditional Survivor Lap around the track. The day continued with participants walking for hours around the track, completing one mile with every 50 laps. Richard Rey’s Band, now appearing at Lucky Clover in Miami, came and performed for the attendees.
Lunch was generously provided to the survivors by Centerplate, the Convention Center’s caterer. Teams were fielded by the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Beauty Schools of America, Juice +, the Alivel Foundation, Kangan Waters of Health, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Mary Kay, Credomatic, Pasteur Medical, and Wendy Unger.
The luminaria ceremony, usually held at nightfall, was held in a pitch black auditorium; it still held the same impact for the people in attendance. During this ceremony, guests surround candle-filled bags with the names of individuals being honored or remembered for their fight against cancer; they are held in the thoughts of the people who march around the track in the dark, lit only by the glow of the bagged candlelight. This year, as always, the luminaria bags were decorated by the students from the Sunflower Society’s afterschool art programs run by Marjorie York and Winsome Bolt.
Fundraising is still going on in connection with this Relay and continues until the end of August; anyone interested in contributing can contact Susana Onoro at email@example.com or (305) 779-2847.