‘Canes bring spirit to Relay for Life


FIGHTING BACK- Cancer survivors begin their dedicated lap of the relay. Many completed the second lap as well with their caregivers. "Relayers raise the money. The money funds research. Research kills cancer. Therefore, Relayers kill cancer." reads a famous quote by Dr. Gordy Klatt, the founder of Relay for Life.

Camryn Souders, Staff Reporter

On April 6, 2019, supporters and relayers came out to the Manatee County Fairgrounds to participate in Relay for Life.

A cancer cluster broke out near Bayshore High School with approximately 240 people becoming diagnosed. Individuals were forming genetic and rare cancers that generally only come through heredity. Many people had more than one type. For a community deeply impacted, Relay for Life has brought our community together and helped us show support for those impacted by the disease.

CANE SUPPORT- Our marching band brings awareness with a supporters tent. Drum majors participated in the events all day. “It was so much fun to get to be in everything we did and give back. There’s no where else I’d have rather been,” Megan said.

“Sacrificing a Saturday and getting to make a lasting impact on cancer research will always be worth it,” said junior Ethan Higbee at the event.

Before the event, $55,900 was raised through sponsors and participants. After the event, $6,250 more was collected, bringing the total for the county up to $62,150. A large portion of that money and support came from our students and our clubs. The top fundraising club in the county is the MHS Ballroom Club, who raised $8,223. Reinaunce and Mam’selles service clubs raised $4,245 and $3,443, respectively.

Some student’s on the participants leader board are Fred Brown, Sara Filips, Kiara Fulk, Ethan Higbee, Ben Lages, Elena Kelly and Corinna Myers.

“I am inspired every day to help others and this project is one that is close to my heart in honor of my son, Chris,” stated Tess Chawi. “Service to others is a big thing I mentor while teaching them how to dance. My students love this project!”

A key fundraiser for Manatee’s team, Mrs. Chawi has been involved for 11 years and formed the Ballroom Club team who raised almost $800 the day of the event. Mrs. Chawi’s son was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma his senior year of high school and fought cancer the entire year. Chawi graduated with his class and has now been in remission for 12 years. Through the American Cancer Society, Chawi received scholarships and support which inspired Mrs. Chawi to give back to the organization for all they did to help Chris.

The events started with Brittney Hoogland, the community development manager, speaking to kick off the opening ceremony. Then, the national anthem and colors were presented, followed by survivors speaking. Following the speakers, every survivor at the event walked two laps together to start off the day. The second lap was for their caregivers to join in, many walked with their parents, children and spouses. Later, a luminaria ceremony took place to honor those who passed from cancer and those still fighting it.

A Hair Day Salon sponsored a hair cutting ceremony where 11 supporters got their hair cut for free and donated it to Children With Hair Loss, a non-profit organization that provides hair replacement for free. Juniors and Mam’selles new president and vice president, Remy Lonzo and Harris Newby donated their hair, among many others. Manatee’s drumline performed and entertained the crowd. Sophomore drumline member Anna Lascuola donated her hair as well. Over 1,000 canned goods were donated for Hungers End food pantry.

With all the negativity and fear that comes with fighting cancer, we shed light, hope and love on Relay for Life.