On May 18, employees from The Mesothelioma Center volunteered their time and hearts to support Relay for Life, an awareness-driven fundraising event that supports the American Cancer Society (ACS). Gathering with cancer survivors, patients and caregivers, The Mesothelioma Center team joined several hundred people in Orlando to raise awareness and money for cancer research.
More than just a fundraising event, Relay for Life unites communities with the goal to support anyone affected by cancer. At every Relay event, cancer survivors are celebrated, caregivers are acknowledged, and family members and friends show their support.
“Listening to people speak about their stories, whether they were family members or survivors themselves, was truly awe-inspiring,” said Rose Smith, a public outreach coordinator at The Mesothelioma Center.
Uniting for a Cure
The Mesothelioma Center joined more than 30 other teams and several hundred participants in the walk around Lake Eola, a popular and scenic park in the heart of downtown Orlando. Team captain Nadia Persaud, social media manager at The Mesothelioma Center, was impressed with this year’s turnout.
“It was amazing to me that we nearly tripled our amount of participants from last year to this year; that was really touching and meant a lot to me,” Nadia shared after announcing that The Mesothelioma Center team raised $3,800 for cancer research. The Relay for Life of Downtown Orlando chapter hasn’t finished calculating the official total, though estimations are currently more than $28,000.
The overnight event kicked off at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 18, and participants walked until 8 a.m. the next day. In addition to raising funds through walking, vendors and local artists volunteered their time, services and goods, such as selling baked goods and homemade bracelets, and all proceeds went to the ACS.
Joe Lahav, patient advocate at The Mesothelioma Center, dedicated a luminaria to honor his mother, whom he lost to cancer. The Luminaria Ceremony is an empowering candlelight vigil at each Relay event that honors cancer patients who have passed, who are currently facing the disease, and those who survived.
Relay Supports Patients with Asbestos-Related Cancers
Cancers of all kinds, including mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers, directly benefit from the funds raised through Relay for Life.
“There are so many different types cancer that affect people every day all over the world, and it’s important to try and support them when you have the opportunity. Here at The Mesothelioma Center, we get lots of support from our community, and it’s important to continue the cycle and give back,” said Danielle DiPietro, a public outreach coordinator at The Mesothelioma Center.
The ACS offers direct support to mesothelioma patients through various programs, such as the Hope Lodge, a temporary housing option for cancer patients, and the Road to Recovery, which provides transportation for patients to get treatment. Mesothelioma patients can also attend the ACS workshop Taking Charge of Money Matters, which addresses financial concerns unique to cancer patients. ACS has also funded scientific research on Alimta, one of the most effective chemotherapy drugs for mesothelioma.
The ACS conducts research that benefits every type of asbestos-caused cancer, including lung, ovarian, testicular, and laryngeal and mesothelioma cancers. ACS is currently funding grants for the following asbestos-caused cancers:
- 109 grants on lung cancer totaling more than $30 million
- 58 grants on ovarian cancer totaling more than $16 million
- five grants on testicular cancer
- one grant on laryngeal cancer
Since 1985, more than $4.5 billion has been raised through Relay for Life. One in every 100 Americans attends Relay events nationwide, and The Mesothelioma Center is thankful for that incredible team effort in the mission to cure cancer.
Have you or a loved one volunteered at a Relay for Life event yet? If so, what did you enjoy most about the event? Leave a comment below, or visit our Facebook page.