By Donna Campisano

Over 100 people attended the 2013 Relay for Life of FishHawk Kick-Off Event held in October at the Palmetto Club in FishHawk Ranch. While munching on popcorn, theater-style candy, pizza and hot dogs (all donated by local vendors and all of which underscore this year’s “Movie” theme), the crowd learned about the various American Cancer Society programs their tireless fundraising supports. Last year, Relay for Life of FishHawk raised an amazing $164,000 for cancer research and for such signature programs as the American Cancer Society’s Look Good…Feel Better (a program in which cosmetologists teach cancer patients how to cope with hair and skin changes) and R.O.C.K. (Reaching Out to Cancer Kids) Camp along with several other programs, including scholarships for young cancer patients/survivors.

Each year, an estimated 8,697 people in our area–and more than 113,400 across Florida–will be diagnosed with cancer. American Cancer Society-funded research has led to a wide range of new detection methods, cutting-edge therapies and cancer-fighting drugs, as well as improved treatment options.

At this year’s Kick-Off, local resident and DJ Jake Dela Cruz pumped up the crowd with his tunes while groups and individuals registered their teams, chose their movie themes and staked out their campsites for the 2013 event, to be held Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24 at Newsome High School in Lithia. To date, over 30 teams have registered to participate, but there is a need for many more. The community is invited to the next Team Meeting on December 4 at 6 p.m. at Stowers Elementary School.

For more information about the 2013 Relay for Life of FishHawk, or to register a team, contact Team Development Chair Mary Kathryn Kennedy at 376-0013 or visit


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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.