In six months, the track at Hillsborough High will be filled with cancer survivors and volunteers raising money and awareness for a well-known cause: The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
Plans are under way in Seminole Heights for the next relay on April 5-6. Volunteers are needed to pull off the event, which raised about $52,000 last year, according to Kimberly Ward, community representative for the American Cancer Society.
Residents from Tampa Heights, Ybor City, Riverside Heights, Sulphur Springs and Seminole Heights are being asked to participate.
We talked to Ward about what Relay for Life entails and how Central Tampa's residents can pitch in.
Patch: What is Relay for Life?
Ward: Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society's signature activity. It offers everyone in the community to participate in the fight against cancer. Teams of people camp out at a local high school or a park or fairground, and they take turns running or walking around a track.
Each team has a representative on the track at all times. It's overnight. Teams of people from all walks of life have raised funds and raised awareness of cancer prevention and treatments. No matter who you are, there's a place for you at Relay. We have relays to honor and celebrate loved ones we've lost.
Patch: How did you get involved? What's your role?
Ward: I started as an administraive assistant. It hit home because my grandmother passed from bone and lung cancer when I was 12. At the time, we had no idea about the American Cancer Society and tons of programs and sevices they provide ... I wanted to be an advocate to patients in local communities.
Patch: Why do you think Relay is important for Seminole Heights and local communities?
Ward: I think it's something for people of all ages. Whether or not you're a young child, you are able to give back and have the opp to learn about cancer prevention, ways you can help, early detection, through Relay. The Seminole Heights community is such an amazing community. Everyone is so involved, and this is a great opportunity.
Patch: What do you hope gets accomplished at Relay for Life?
Ward: I hope we have a full track with people who are happy and pumped the whole night. We would love to have as many survivors as possible to come out. I would love for everyone to walk away and be looking forward to coming back next year.
For more information, contact event chair Wendy Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org, go to www.relayforlife.org/seminoleheightsfl or go to the group's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/seminoleheightsrelayforlifeevent.