Lakewood Ranch — As a nurse, East County resident Cindee Reed has seen countless patients in the last 27 years — many of whom were battling cancer.
But nothing compared to when her own mother called her in excruciating pain shortly before learning she had an inoperable cancer pressing on one of her nerves. The cancer killed Reed’s mother in about one month.
“In all the years of taking care of patients, I never felt as hopeless as I did with my mom,” Reed said. “We’ve all got stories.”
So this weekend, Reed and three friends will join the efforts of the American Cancer Society by hosting the Lakewood Ranch Relay for Life.
The Olympic-themed event, which runs from 7 p.m., April 30, to 1 p.m., May 1, gives individuals the chance to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have battled or been lost to any form of cancer, while raising funds for cancer research and programs the American Cancer Society offers to cancer patients and their families. The event will kick off with a survivors lap, and the luminaria ceremony will follow at 9:30 p.m., April 30.
Each team participating in the Relay will offer booths with games, foods or other services to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Additionally, live entertainment will be provided by the band One Night Rodeo at 8 p.m., and Someone from Somewhere at 10 p.m. Members of the public not participating in the Relay are invited to attend.
“You don’t have to be on a team to come out,” the event’s Activities Chair Jessica Ahl said.
Reed and Ahl, along with friend Kim Thimons, event chair, and co-worker Diane Bucci, team retention chair, participated in the Relay for Life for the first time last year by walking in honor of Reed’s mother.
They were so impacted by the event, the group decided to chair this year’s Relay. The group — of which three work at Home Care Services in Bradenton — has raised more than $750 by holding monthly bake sales in their office building.
This year, they also will be walking in honor of former co-worker Nan Hoppman, who lost her battle with lung cancer after last year’s Relay.
“I’ve been touched by cancer in too many ways not to step in and help,” Ahl said, noting she’s had two grandparents, other relatives and a co-worker battle the disease.
Reed agreed. Chairing the event, she said, has been a lot of hard work atop a full-time job, but something she and the other women couldn’t be prouder to be part of.
“It’s worth it,” Reed said. “The money we raise helps all of us in one way or the other. The money I raise today may save my life two years from now. It’s to find a cure for our family and friends.”
For more information about Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org. For information about the American Cancer Society, visit www.cancer.org.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
RELAY FOR LIFE
WHEN: 7 p.m., April 30, through 1 p.m., May 1
WHERE: Lakewood Ranch High School, 5500 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.
WEB SITE: www.relayforlife.org