West Park Families and Friends Fight Cancer with Faith and Hope through Relay For Life

West Park cancer survivors start off Relay for Life.

Walkers will go around the clock in the battle against cancer when the American Cancer Society’s West Park Relay For Life gets underway this year. Teams of residents will gather at McTyre Park, 3501 SW 56th Ave on Friday, April 29 for the event. Opening ceremonies will begin at 6:00 pm, and the walk will continue throughout the night until 11:00 am on Saturday, April 30, 2011.

Relay For Life activities are held overnight as individuals and teams camp out at McTyre Park, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track or pathway at all times throughout the evening. Teams do most of their fundraising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fundraisers at their camp sites during the walk. Relay For Life brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, faith-based groups – people from all walks of life – who share the goal of furthering the American Cancer Society’s efforts to help people stay well, find a cure, and save lives.

“Relay is a unique opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember those we’ve lost, and fight back against the disease,” said Vice Mayor Brunson, Relay For Life Chairperson. “Many of the participants are cancer survivors, which serves as a reminder that no one is immune to this disease. By participating in Relay, we are supporting the American Cancer Society’s efforts to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.”

Funds raised at the West Park Relay For Life help the American Cancer Society impact the lives of those touched by cancer within our very own community. The American Cancer Society invests more than $120 million in cancer research each year, and more than $15 million goes to researchers in Florida. Florida leads the nation in reaching newly diagnosed patients, and the State’s advocacy program has ensured smoke-free workplaces, restored funding for youth tobacco prevention programs and increased the State’s tobacco tax by $1 per pack.

Relay For Life’s Luminaria Ceremony takes place after sundown, honoring the community’s cancer survivors and remembering those lost to the disease. Participants will circle a track that is surrounded with glowing luminaria that bear the names of individuals who have battled cancer. Luminaria may be purchased for a donation by calling (954) 200-7534 or by visiting www.relayforlife.org/westparkfl. Also a part of the West Park Relay For Life event is the “Fight Back” Ceremony, in which a community leader will inspire Relay participants with his or her own commitment and challenge them to take a personal pledge of action (e.g., stop smoking, eat healthier, exercise regularly, etc.) to fight back.

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, the American Cancer Society fights for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. Lives are saved by teaching people how to stay well and prevent cancer through early detection; by helping people get well through support systems and networks during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; by fighting back through asking lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer; and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, the American Cancer Society puts knowledge into action. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year!

To learn more about the Relay For Life, and how you can get involved, please contact your American Cancer Society Staff Partner, Ronenia Jenkins at the American Cancer Society at (954) 200- 7534, email Ronenia.Jenkins@cancer.org or visit the Relay For Life website at www.relayforlife.org/westparkfl.

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