By Kate Quesada

A FishHawk cancer survivor who teaches at Bevis Elementary School, has created a great way for the community to have fun while raising money for an important cause. The Taste of Hope event, taking place from 7-10 p.m. on January 19 at the Palmetto Club in FishHawk Ranch, will offer wine and beer tasting and appetizers with all profits going to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event.

According to Bevis first grade teacher Jackelyn Waluzak, the co-lead fundraising chair for the event committee, beer will be provided by Three Daughter’s Brewery and wine from Total Wine. “I am planning to do 10 different kinds from reds, whites, sparkling and dessert wines. For food, I’m planning to do a cheese and charcuterie station and gourmet snacks,” said Waluzak, who has taught in FishHawk for 11 years, seven at FishHawk Creek Elementary and four at Bevis Elementary.

The event will also feature music from Raizing Kane, a popular local cover band that plays a wide variety of music. Relay for Life, a team fundraising event where members take turns walking around a track or designated path, is a very personal event for Waluzak, who was diagnosed with Stage 3C Colon Cancer in 2013.

“After months of chemo, months of radiation plus chemo, and a massive colon resection surgery, when I was about to endure several more months of chemo, the 2014 Relay event took place. With my husband, sister, niece and many loving people by my side, I made it up to the stage to be recognized as a survivor,” said Waluzak. “I Relay to remember those we have lost to the battle, to motivate those still fighting, and to inspire everyone to get involved and support the cause.”

This year FishHawk Relay for Life will take place at Newsome High School taking place on Saturday, April 8. To sign up to join the team or to donate, visit

Tickets for the event can be bought online for $35 each at Call Waluzak at (269) 599-2700 for more information. The Palmetto Club at FishHawk Ranch is located at 17004 Dorman Rd. in Lithia.

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.