Nearly everyone knows somebody who has, in some way, been affected by cancer. That is why Relay For Life co-chairs Christine Busheme and Lisa Mansini are hoping our community will come out in full force to this year’s Nov. 2 Lake Nona Event.
The 2019 Relay theme is “Live, Learn, Work, Play and RELAY,” and thanks to the presenting sponsor, Tavistock Development Company, it will take place within the Lake Nona Town Center (next to Boxi Park!). “This year, we are aiming to create a festival experience that encourages EVERYONE (families, couples, singles) to attend,” says Busheme. The event committee hopes to create a community showcase with a purpose. The purpose, of course, will remain the same as years past: Have fun. Raise funds. Fight cancer.
The statistics are daunting: One out of three people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. The Relay For Life movement is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser dedicated to helping communities lower those odds. Relay For Life is a pre-registered TEAM event composed of community families, neighborhoods, groups, schools, and businesses that wish to make a difference.
Team members take turns walking around a track or designated path. It is a time to not only honor survivors, acknowledge the caregivers, and remember loved ones who have lost their battle, but also to raise funds for cancer research, help give patients and their families the resources they need, offer free rides to chemo, free places to stay near hospitals, wigs to wear, and a live 24/7 helpline for answers and support.
The Lake Nona Relay is unique because it also has a Gold Together Team where all funds raised go directly to childhood cancer research and programs. This year’s event will also take advantage of being in the heart of Medical City by providing an educational cancer awareness component led by the University of Central Florida College of Medicine Team.
Relay festivities will begin at 1 p.m. with the traditional Opening Ceremony – a celebratory time where Teams, Survivors, Caregivers, and the Community are welcomed, followed by the Survivor/Caregiver lap, Youth Celebrations and other festivities including a Survivor lunch. At Relay For Life, Survivors are treated as VIPs and are invited to a special FREE luncheon in their honor. The lunch is designed to introduce survivors (and one guest of their choice) to others who are facing similar challenges and creates opportunities for sharing stories, friendship, and hope. (
To register as a survivor and for the luncheon, email LakeNonaSurvivor@gmail.com or call 1-800-227-2345 and select option 2, and tell them you wish to register as a survivor for the Lake Nona Relay. When responding via email, please include your name, youth or adult survivor, and t-shirt size.
Throughout the afternoon and evening, there will be entertainment, food, activities, a kid’s carnival, contests, fun for all ages, and this year a special vendor area where people can shop for a good cause. While all the activities are going on, each team is always asked to have a member on the track to signify that cancer never sleeps. “Cancer patients don’t stop because they’re tired, and for one afternoon and one night, neither do we,” says co-chair and cancer survivor Mansini.
As night falls, Luminaria will be lit and will surround the walking area; it will serve both as a way to illuminate the path and as a powerful symbol that our loved ones are always in our hearts and those touched by cancer are never alone. This year, the Relay For Life Committee would like to challenge the community to have 1,000 Luminaria lighting our path. To purchase one “in honor of” or “in memory of” someone touched by cancer, visit the Relay website at www.relayforlife.org/LakeNonaFl. There will also be a remembrance slideshow. If you would like to pay tribute and remember your loved one or friend who has passed from cancer during this slideshow (which will be held at 9 p.m.), please email a picture in a PDF or JPEG format and include name and date of birth/date they passed by midnight on Oct. 27. Email to: LakeNonaRelay@Gmail.com.
Relay For Life of Lake Nona is open to the entire community! If you are interested in volunteering the day of the event, being a vendor, sponsor, or providing entertainment, please email: LakeNonaRelay@gmail.com. To DONATE or register a team (it’s free), visit the relay website at www.relayforlife.org/LakeNonaFl.
RELAY FOR LIFE OF LAKE NONA EVENT DETAILS:
Theme: Live, Learn, Work, Play and RELAY
When: Saturday, Nov. 2
Where: Lake Nona Town Center
6900 Tavistock Lakes Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32827
What: Community Festival and Pre-Registered Team Walk
Who: EVERYONE is invited – all ages
Time: 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Cost: FREE to attend