Relay1 The SouthShore Relay for Life event is being held at East Bay High School on Saturday, May 9, beginning at 12 Noon. This 18-hour signature event sponsored by the American Cancer Society, is filled with laughter, joy, tears, fun, friendship and fundraising.
The theme for the SouthShore Relay is game shows. Each team will have their name, tent area, and activities centered on different game shows.  Throughout the day, each team will host special events at  its “campsite” based on its game show. This will be fun for all to stop by, participate, and donate to a great cause. The SouthShore Relay is looking for more teams, sponsors, volunteers and donations to help make this year’s event a success.
Michelle Davis Garis and Amanda Marrero are the co-chairs of the SouthShore event. “Our goal this year is to raise $100,000,” said Marrero. “I love the fact that we, the community, are able to raise a lot of money to help so many people, and we have such a good time doing it.”
As in years past, the relay will begin with an inspirational survivor walk that celebrates the participants who are in recovery. A touching luminary event begins at 9 p.m. to honor and reflect on those who have passed away. Many people who will be attending are still fighting the disease.
There will be approximately 50 teams encompassing local businesses, schools, civic organizations and churches.  Monica Dubreuil is the team captain for the SouthShore Falls Queens and will host a bevy of entertaining events based on the old-time game show Queen for a Day.  The Queen team will hold chance drawings, and will be selling glow necklaces and food fit for a queen during the event to help raise funds for the team’s $3,000 goal.
“I became involved in this relay, my first, thanks to my friends and teammates, Olivia Gertz and Dana Johnson, who both work for the American Cancer Society,” said Dubreuil. “A team from our neighborhood participated in the October breast cancer walk, and, afterwards, we made the commitment to have our team in the Relay for Life.  Each one of our 11 team members has been touched by either a friend or family member that has or is battling cancer.”
The Relay for Life honors cancer survivors, their caregivers, and also remembers those who have passed from the disease. All cancers are represented during the event ranging from breast, colon, liver, kidney, Hodgkin’s, and more. “For me, this is personal for several reasons,” said Dubreuil.  “My family watched bone cancer take my grandfather. We have also seen how the advancement in awareness and treatment of breast cancer helped my grandmother to be a 20-year survivor.   I am only happy to donate my time to ACS to help see an end to cancer in my lifetime.”
Anyone in the community that has been touched in some way by a friend or loved one battling this disease is encouraged to come out and participate, purchase a luminary in honor of a loved one, and be a part of this powerful and meaningful event.
For more information, visit or call 813-685-0670.

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Kelly Wise Valdes
Kelly Wise Valdes has been writing for the Osprey Observer since 2008. She graduated in 1989 from Florida Southern College with a B.S. in Communications and enjoys writing and traveling. She currently resides in northern Hillsborough County with her husband, David. When not traveling and writing, Kelly and her husband enjoy spending time with their five grown children (as well as their grandchildren) that still keep them very busy.