SEBASTIAN – Old MacDonald had a farm – that much is true. But the popular refrain heard from nearly 30 groups participating in the North County Relay For Life Saturday and Sunday wasn’t the norm.
Instead, several hundred said, “Ee I Ee I No More Cancer!”
This year’s Relay For Life, held at Sharks Stadium at Sebastian River High, took on a farm theme, encouraging businesses, civic groups and churches to come up with related tents and activities.
Sebastian River Medical Center, a longtime supporter of Relay, came up with “Green Acres – Raisin’ green for a cure.” Bay Street “Farmacy” next door decided to “sow seeds for a cure.” And the Sebastian Property Owners Association declared “Life will be ducky with no more cancer.”
Jane Holman, the county’s representative from the American Cancer Society, said the day was going well, not only in terms of the weather and participation but also in fund-raising.
The North Indian River County Relay’s goal for funds raised is $85,000 – a firm total had not yet been determined.
Unlike other Relays, this year’s in Sebastian got an early start of noon instead of 6 p.m.
“It’s done wonderfully,” Holman said of the schedule shift, explaining that the energy level had been consistently high from the beginning.
Survivors opened the 18-hour long event with a special lap around the stadium’s track, drawing the applause and cheers of those lining the pathway. Their purple shirts summed up the American Cancer Society’s Relay philosophy – “Supporters make it possible. Scientists make it happen. Survivors make it personal.”
Colon cancer survivor Frank Ugenti shared his story with the Relay participants. The grandfather of 34 and great-granddad to 19, said the most important thing is to surround yourself with loved ones.
“I’m still fighting the good fight,” Ugenti said, adding that exercise and good doctors can contribute to a cancer patient’s success. “Never lose hope. Never give up.”
The annual event was held from about Noon Saturday through 6 a.m. Sunday as a symbol that cancer never sleeps – and neither do the participants.
To help keep relayers awake and alert during the overnight hours, special contests and activities were scheduled.
Such events included karaoke and limbo contests, a drag contest, a scavenger hunt, and a special lap for walkers – in their pajamas.
Such activities might or might not be able to keep some awake – they might have to turn to stimulants such as caffeine and sugar to keep going throughout the night.
Friends Stephanie Carroll and Halie Jo Daniels, from Team Monnett Eye Center, said they plan to do just that – gulp caffeinated beverages through the night to keep awake.
As students attending Keiser University, they said that should be no problem for them.
“We’re used to it,” Daniels said.
The North Indian River Relay For Life was sponsored by the following businesses:
Bay Street Pharmacy & Home Health Care
Laura Peterson/ReMax Crown Realty
Sebastian River Medical Center
Vero Radiology Associates
VITAS Home Hospice
This year’s teams included:
Bay Street Pharmacy and Home Health Care
Capt. Hiram’s Resort
Coastal Community Church
Crossroads Christian Fellowship
Dust Bunnies Cleaning and Home Care
Fellsmere Elementary School
GFWC Sebastian River Junior Woman’s Club
Gutierrez Family Dentistry
Liberty Magnet School
Monnett Eye Center
Re/Max Crown Realty
Seacoast National Bank
Sebastian Charter Junior High School
Sebastian Property Owners Association
Sebastian River High School
Sebastian River Medical Center
Sebastian River Middle School
Storm Grove Middle School
Treasure Coast Community Health
Treasure Coast Elementary School