Congregation and Community Keep Stride For Those Afflicted By Cancer

By Carisa Biesecker
eventsThe ability to get outdoors and walk is a gift none of us should take for granted, as so many battling cancer are left without the strength to do so, which is why residents are invited to walk in support of St. Stephen Catholic Church’s Project Cure.In its fourth year, Project Cure is a 60-mile walk taking place from Friday-Sunday, November 13-15, which starts at Natures Way Blvd. in Valrico within the Bloomingdale East Park, running from 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Residents are welcome to walk all three days or just part of the walk – the choice is theirs. From this walk, 100 percent of the proceeds will go to benefit the Don and Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. “Moffitt is a leader in research and treatment of cancer, and it benefits the families right here in our community,” says Event Coordinator Lisa Huetteman, managing partner of Black Diamond Associates.Having lost two mothers of students enrolled at St. Stephen Catholic School, one in 2003 and another in 2006, church members decided to take action, having first participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk. When the foundation’s ethics were found to conflict with the church’s, the congregation decided to take matters into its own hands, starting Project Cure. Since its beginning, astoundingly, Project Cure has raised more than $71,000 the last three years it has been in operation with every cent going to help breast cancer victims. This year’s fundraising efforts were collaborated through a multiplicity of events from a pancake breakfast and skating party to the Paint the Park Pink event at various sports outings. Still to come, the impending Project Cure Marketplace, to be held on Friday, November 6, at 7 p.m. at St. Stephen Catholic Church, warrants residents’ time and purchases for Christmas, supporting Project Cure. Local vendors are being sought for this event. In addition, Create for a Cure at the Pottery Patch, located at 2551 E. S.R. 60 in Valrico, is taking place from Friday-Sunday, November 6-8. Residents need only mention Project Cure and 20 percent of the sale is donated towards the event.Expecting more than last year’s tally of 120 walkers, St. Stephen Catholic Church welcomes all to support the effort by both raising funds for the effort and taking part in the walk. “We welcome walkers to walk any distance, so they are welcome to come out anytime during the day. This is a great family event, as men, women and children can participate at their own level,” concludes Huetteman.If you are interested in registering for the walk or would like more information, go to www.projectcure.ststephencatholic.org.  For those who would like to support the effort, send checks made payable to The Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation or St. Stephen Catholic Church, with Project Cure on the memo line, to St. Stephen Catholic Church, 5049 Bell Shoals Rd., Valrico, FL 33596. Residents can also make donations online. For more information, call Huetteman at 685-6185 or e-mail lisa@the-black-diamond.com.