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Give Cancer the Boot!

Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back. These are the traditions of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for life.

In 1985 a lone physician by the name of Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon, wanted to increase the income of his local American Cancer Society office in Tacoma, Washington.

Running in marathons was something that he enjoyed and decided to personally raise money through donations for the fight by running for 24 hours around a track while patients and friends cheered him on and making donations along the way. Dr. Klatt raised $27,000.00 for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life took its’ course through the years. Expanding to every state and nearly every city and town throughout the United States. Fort Myers, Florida is no different.

At Relay for Life, we Celebrate with a Survivor Lap, a very special time when Survivors are invited to circle the track together as an emotional example of how Relay participants are ensuring that more lives are saved each year – like those of each individual on the track.

After dark, we honor those who have been touched by cancer and Remember loved ones lost to the disease during the Luminaria Ceremony. Candles are lit inside bags filled with sand, each one bearing the name of a person touched by cancer, and participants often walk a lap in silence.

Last, there is a Fight Back Ceremony, where personal commitments are made to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer. This personal commitment may be to do something as simple as getting a screening test, quitting smoking, or talking to elected officials about cancer. By Fighting Back, people are personally taking steps to save lives and fight back against a disease that takes so much away from our families and friends.

Individuals and companies both large and small make the yearly commitment to Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back. LYNX Services has been involved in the Relay for Life of Fort Myers since 2008. Dena Jagoda, a Leader/Analyst for LYNX Services said “… LYNX Services has been recognized as a Bronze Member for the Relay for Life of Fort Myers event, raising more than $5,000.00. Relay for Life of Fort Myers is ranked as #5 out of 355 Relay events for the entire Florida Division”. Jagoda has been involved since 2009 as a Team Captain for LYNX Services and as a Committee Member serving as Retention Chair for the 2010 and 2011 events. In 2012 she will serve on the Committee as the Advocacy Chair and has been invited to go to Tallahassee in January to represent our district for Training and Lobbying.

Shonda Riley, who serves as IT Support Supervisor said that LYNX Services also sponsored Light the Night at Germain Arena on January 7th, 2011 for the Everblades game that night. LYNX purchased the tickets for the event, those tickets were given to the Relay for Life of Fort Myers teams to raise money for their teams with all proceeds going to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Fort Myers 2011 Event.

Shonda Riley has been involved with Relay for Life since 2008 as a Team Captain for LYNX Services, as Team Development Chair for the 2009 and 2010 events, as Event Chair for the 2011 event, and as a Relay Operating Committee member for the Florida Division of the American Cancer Society in 2011. During this timeframe, she also represented the Relay For Life of Fort Myers at the annual Relay For Life Summit for the Florida Division. This year, she returns as the Event Chair for the 2012 Relay For Life of Fort Myers as well as a Relay Operating Committee member.

This writers’ first experience with Relay for Life was in 2010 and I walked the survivors lap and it was the most emotionally filled moment of my life as I walked that lap people whom I have never seen in my life just applauded and smiled and gave me the thumbs up sign, I could do nothing but cry with tears of joy and hope that I will continue to be a Survivor.

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