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In communities throughout Florida people are gathering together to help fight cancer at a unique event called Relay For Life. Relay is the American Cancer Society’s national signature activity that brings together teams of families and friends from local companies, schools, clubs, churches, and other organizations to walk around the track in relay fashion.

All proceeds raised from this event are used for cancer research, education, prevention and patient services. The five-year relative survival probability for all cancers diagnosed between 1999 and 2006 is 68 percent, up from 50 percent in 1975 to 1977. This survival rate can be increased through more research and greater community awareness of health issues. Relay For Life combines a way to share vital cancer education and programs with community members and a way to raise money to fund more cancer research.

The success began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma, Washington surgeon and
American Cancer Society volunteer, ran and walked on a local track for 24 hours, traveling a total of 81 miles and raising $27,000. Since Dr. Klatt’s one-man marathon, thousands of people nationwide have passed the “baton” and raised billions of dollars for Relay For Life’s battle against cancer.

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“Survivor – Let’s Vote Cancer off the Island” is the message of this year’s Relay For Life Fernandina Beach/Yulee, being held March 5, 2016 at Main Beach Park on Amelia Island. The 12-hour event is free and open to the public.

Opening ceremonies begin at 10:00 a.m. with a welcome from Mayor Johnny Miller, and a message of hope from cancer survivor Judie Mackie. The first lap of Relay For Life celebrates cancer survivors. Anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer, whether currently undergoing treatment or in remission for 50 years, is invited to participate. Caregivers, and then participating teams, will be invited to the track.

Members from our community are encouraged to continuously walk the track representing how cancer never takes a break. There will be family games, activities, entertainment, and six live bands will perform throughout the event. Themed laps will occur at the top of each hour, and Relay teams will compete in “Tribal Challenges” to earn immunity and of course, bragging rights.

After dusk, the Luminaria Ceremony remembers all of those who battled cancer. Candles surround the track with bags marked with the names of those still fighting, those who won the battle, and those we have lost. This ceremony of light symbolizes our mothers, our fathers, our sisters, our brothers, our sons, our daughters, our friends and our loved ones. The lights remind us of hope, and our shared vision for a cancer-free future. Fernandina Beach Vice Mayor Robin Lentz, and cancer survivor Patti Jubell, will share their emotional stories, and every Relay participant is encouraged to find a way to fight back against cancer, by raising money, making a healthy lifestyle choice or speaking up for cancer patients through advocacy.

ALL proceeds from the day’s activities, as well as vendor’s booths, will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

For more information about Relay For Life Fernandina Beach/Yulee please contact Alexandra Davis at (904) 391-3643.

For information about Relay For Life or about cancer, call toll-free anytime 1-800-227-
2345 or visit the American Cancer Society Web site at www.cancer.org.