Community rallies in the fight against cancer at 2015 Emerald Coast Relay for Life

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
As part of the annual event, cancer survivors take a special lap around the track.

Several hundred people, which included more than 30 teams of businesses and individuals, gathered to walk the sports track at Destin Middle School all night for a 12-hour rally in the fight against cancer at the 2015 Emerald Coast Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society Friday night.

From adults to children, from survivors, those in treatment, caregivers, to the many whose lives have been touched by cancer in family or friends, the group stood strong. They have been raising money for the months leading up to the Relay, as well as at the event.

Chair Jean Grieve introduced this year’s Relay Honorary Chair, Elena Lopicoolo, who delivered a touching and inspirational talk. The young woman, a newlywed military wife, is currently in a brave fight against cancer. Also at the same time, her closest friend, Jamie MacMiller, is dealing with cancer. The two friends stayed through the night serving as courageous reminders to rally support in the fight.

The track lights went dark for a touching luminaria ceremony held during the night with luminarias honoring loved ones quietly glowing for a moment of silence. The luminarias are one of the ways that gave people the opportunity to honor cancer survivors and remember those who have lost their lives, while raising funds and generating awareness to fight back and help end cancer forever.

The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life movement is the largest collective fund raiser in the world with Relays done across the country and internationally. Relays symbolize hope and a shared goal to end a disease that threatens the lives of so many people.

With both its local programs to serve people in the community, and its global reach, the American Cancer Society is the largest private source for cancer research funding with more than $4 billion invested in research since 1946. They have had a hand in almost every major cancer research development with 47 research scientists receiving the Nobel Laureate prize for their medical breakthroughs. The local unit serves Okaloosa, Walton and Holmes Counties and can be reached at 850-244-3813. Their 24/7 hotline for help is 800-227-2345. www.cancer.org

Donations can still be made by going to www.relayforlife.org/emeraldcoastfl.