Over the last seven months of fundraising, the Flagler County teams raised $30,000 for the American Cancer Society.
One by one, the cancer survivors at Flagler County's annual Relay for Life lined up to state their name, the type of cancer they had and how long they've been cancer-free. Some said they were still fighting, while others have been in remission for decades.
Gary Perkins, the Relay for Life of Flagler County event organizer, said $2,777 was raised at the event on Saturday, May 18, but $30,000 overall was raised in the last seven months locally to benefit the American Cancer Society. "Big Love for KB" was the top fundraising team, he said. There were 152 registered participants and many who showed up to support the cause.
"We help the American Cancer Society touch the lives of so many: those who are currently battling cancer, those who may face a diagnosis in the future and those who may avoid a diagnosis all together," Perkins said. "Today, we are here to celebrate all those who have battled cancer: our survivors in the purple shirts."
As the line of purple shirts took their first lap around the lake at Central Park in Town Center, on-lookers applauded and gave the survivors high-fives.
"Each and every one of you is here because you feel compelled to make a difference, and together, we can," Perkins said.
Guest speaker Mike Rogers — a Titusville resident, cancer survivor and lifelong skateboarder — founded Grind for Life in 2003 to provide financial assistance to cancer patients and their families when traveling long distances to doctors and hospitals, like he had to for treatment.
"To be here speaking to you right now is a modern day miracle of medicine," Rogers said. "1978 I was first diagnosed when I was 12 years old, was treated down in Miami with a triple therapy radiation —18 rounds of chemotherapy. My treatment plan was the same as an adult. ... I survived it. Twenty-five years later, it came back in my nasal cavity. Modern day miracle of medicine happened again. ... All of you guys are out here doing a great thing today by helping other people get to their cancer treatments."
Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland said the dedication and courage of the survivors and event participants was uplifting to her.
"Your participation in this event makes this not only a local, but also a global impact on cancer," Holland said. "Thanks to your generous donations and volunteer hours. You're assisting in finding a cure to save lives all across the world."
Flagler County Commissioner Donald O'Brien asked those present to remember the fallen and celebrate the caregivers — "the unsung heroes in the battle against cancer," he said.
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly voiced his connection to the cause, as FCSO has a number of employees who are fighting cancer, he said.
"So, as you walk around this park, I would ask that you say a silent prayer for my employees that are currently fighting this terrible disease," Staly said. "And thank you for raising money, so that some day we will have a cure for all of cancer."