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Saturday, Mar 28, 2015
Out and about

1,000 expected to attend Cancer Society’s Relay for Life

Hernando Today correspondent


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There’s a reason why participants in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life events walk through the night, said local coordinator Lisa Stoessel.

“It symbolizes the journey of the cancer patient,” Stoessel said. “Staying up all night when it’s the darkest time and pushing through to the morning signifies the struggles they have while going through treatment and the rising of the sun signifies a new day.”

Cancer survivors and their supporters will take part in that symbolic journey tonight at the annual walk at Hernando High School, 700 Bell Ave. in Brooksville, with opening ceremonies starting at 6 p.m.

“Relay for Life events are best described as an event that celebrates those that have won the battle against cancer,” Stoessel said. “We remember those we have lost and fight back against cancer. It’s one community, one night, one fight.”

This year, 39 teams, made up of schools, local businesses, and friends and family will walk the track, raising funds and cancer awareness.

Over 1,000 people are expected to attend.

“Most of our teams have been fundraising all year long. Each team comes out with a fundraiser, everything from food, crafts, raffle baskets, bouncy houses and face-painting for the kids,” Stoessel said.

The public is invited to attend the event, walk the track, and purchase items that the teams are selling.

All money raised will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

Cancer survivors are invited to attend the “Survivor Dinner” at 4:30 p.m. A free dinner, a goodie bag, and a “Purple Survivor Shirt” will be given out to each cancer survivor who attends.

All cancer survivors, wearing their purple shirts, are honored and take the first lap at the event.

A special luminary ceremony starts at 9 p.m. All the track lighting is turned off and only luminary bags with candles light up the track.

“If you have never been to one, this is something you don’t want to miss,” said Stoessel. “We have a picture slide show of people who have won and lost the battle against cancer. It’s local people right here in our backyard that are on that screen.”

Team members will stay up all night, raising funds. The event wraps up at 9 a.m. on Saturday.

The idea is that one person from each team is on the track at all times,” Stoessel said.

The Relay for Life event is free and open to the public.

“You can come and just walk around and enjoy all the live entertainment, games and delicious food,” Stoessel said.

For more info, contact Lisa Stoessel at (813) 949-0291 or visit

Hernando Today correspondent Heather Francis can be reached at

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