Hope springs eternal, and with spring just around the corner, there are two major events taking place next weekend as part of the hopeful fight against cancer and pediatric diseases such as cancer.
One is the American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life, which returns to the western communities on Saturday, March 11.
Relay for Life is generally an overnight community fundraising walk celebrating survivors, honoring those lost and inspiring hope, all while raising money for cancer research and support. Relay for Life began more than 30 years ago in Tacoma, Wash., when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked for 24 hours and 83 miles around the University of Puget Sound’s Baker Stadium. Friends donated $25 to run or walk for 30 minutes with him, raising a total $27,000 for the local American Cancer Society office. The experience sparked a passion in Klatt, and he organized the first team relay event.
Three decades later, thousands of relays are held across the United States, raising billions of dollars across three decades. It is estimated more than $5 billion has been raised to date. The event brings out teams who raise money and then walk the track, with one person from each team walking or running around the clock. Each year, more than 5,000 Relay for Life events take place in more than 20 countries around the world.
Over the past several years, there have been a trio of Relay for Life events in the western communities. This year, there is one mega-event, set for Saturday, March 11 from 3 to 11 p.m. at the South Florida Fairgrounds (9067 Southern Blvd.). For more information, visit www.relayforlife.org. Once there, click “Join A Relay” and type in one of the local zip codes. That will take you to the Western Palm Beach County Relay for Life. To learn more, you can also contact Lisa Noel at (561) 650-0129 or email@example.com.
The second event is the Children’s Miracle Hospital Network Dance Marathon, which started as a memorial. In 1991, students at Indiana University held the first Dance Marathon in memory of Ryan White, a fellow student who passed away from HIV/AIDS. Over the past 26 years, Dance Marathon has grown. It now spans North America, benefiting hundreds of hospitals and countless kids in the United States and Canada.
Area high school students have gotten involved the past few years in the effort to raise money in the fight against a number of pediatric diseases, including cancer. Seminole Ridge High School hosted its Dance Marathon on Feb. 24, a day before Palm Beach Central High School did the same. Wellington High School’s is set for Friday, March 10.
Last year, Wellington High School raised more than $42,000, a state record for the most money raised by a high school, and the school’s Student Government Association hopes to break the $50,000 mark this year. The 2017 event at WHS runs from 4 to 11 p.m. on Friday, March 10. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/DMATWHS. That page will provide information about the event, and also a link to where you can donate or sign up.
Fighting cancer and pediatric diseases is a noble cause, and both Relay for Life and Dance Marathon are inspiring ways of tackling such somber issues. We encourage the community to go out and support these important local events. Both provide opportunities for the community to work together toward a common goal, and that’s always a good thing.