The distance is only 440 yards, but for many people it’s a journey they never thought they’d make. In a few weeks, nearly 1,000 cancer survivors will take the survivor lap around the track at The Villages Charter High School during the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in The Villages. They will be joined by family, friends, and even strangers like me who have been touched in some way by cancer.
I’ve read about the Relay for Life where the all-night ceremonies and events have attracted larger and larger crowds every year since it began in The Villages. I never quite understood how the event could make a difference in the fight against cancer. Then, last year cancer came into my life—not once, but three times. I wasn’t the person who was sick, but I watched three close relatives who were all lovely women suffer and ultimately lose their battles. Their collective strength and spirit inspired me to do more. I don’t want to just read about the success of the Relay for Life after the fact. I want to be more than a bystander as friends and neighbors walk the track on April 24.
If you think such events don’t make a difference, then talk to Sonny Resmondo, a six-year cancer survivor who brought the Relay for Life event to The Villages in 2004. Sonny, along with his sister-in-law Carol Lauferski, has chaired the local event that has raised more than $1.5 million for the American Cancer Society since it began here. He proudly—and justifiably so–—will tell you The Villages Relay for Life ranks second in the nation for funds raised per capita.
And don’t forget the 1,300 cancer survivors who registered for last year’s event in The Villages. They brought home the First Place Power of Hope Award for survivor participation nationwide. If they can lead the way, then we able-bodied souls should be able to do our part in the fight against cancer, too.
You don’t have to run; you don’t even have to walk. You can show your support all this month by buying a raffle ticket for a $20,000 “Kustom Kart” from members of the 65 relay teams. Or you can attend a pancake breakfast, a book sale, a poker run, or one of the many other events that Relay for Life teams are sponsoring. Everyone in our community has an opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer.
The Relay for Life is also one of the largest spirit-building events that The Villages hosts. The various teams from organizations will camp out at the high school and members will take turns walking around the track—all night. The collecting of money will have already been done with the various activities that led up to the event. On April 24 it will be all about celebrating life.
As the American Cancer Society’s signature activity, Relay for Life events will bring together more than 3.5 million people nationwide to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors, to remember the ones who have been lost to the disease, and to give strength to those who are currently battling cancer. It is also one way that we can show we are willing to fight back and defeat this insidious disease.
Always fight the good fight,
Want To know more?
The Villages 6th Annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life
The Villages Charter High School Track
Opening Ceremony: Friday, April 24, 6pm
Luminaria Ceremony: 8:45pm
Closing and Final Victory Lap: Saturday, April 25, 9:45am
Information: Sonny Resmondo, (352) 267-0980