ENGLEWOOD — Teams are starting to organize for Englewood Relay for Life planned March 23 at Lemon Bay High School.
Relay for Life is an overnight, communityorganized fundraising walk started by the American Cancer Society to fund cancer research. This year’s theme is tropical — “Cruise to the Cure.”
Fundraising wise, “We’re right where we were at last year,” said Mike Kekel, fundraising chairman for Englewood Relay for Life. “So far we raised $1,620. We’re on pace to match last year’s number at $65,000.”
There are 11 teams and 48 participants registered so far for this year’s relay. Kekel is leader of Happy Heart Team.
“We are having more sign up as we go,” he said. “We’re anticipating a surge in registration around this time of year.”
Kekel is also organizing a flash restaurant relay scheduled around April or May.
Vicky Bartlett, team leader of Stubby’s Stompers, has been fundraising for Relay for Life for five years.
“I started Stubby’s Stompers because of my father, Leon ‘Stubby’ Truman,” Bartlett said. “He passed from lung cancer six years ago.”
Truman was inducted to the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame the year he died. He learned this a month prior to his death, according to Bartlett. “I heard about Relay from my sister who was on the Lemon Bay High (School) team,” she said. “Now she’s on my team.”
Stubby’s Stompers adopted Hawaii as their theme. “We thought it would be fun,” Bartlett said. “We’re selling beads with flounders.”
Some of the members’ friends and family are musicians in bands and will help raise money in a number of concerts. The bands, Hired Gunz and Collaboration, are offering to help collect donations at Flounders Restaurant and the White Elephant Pub.
“We have 12 on our team and we’re always looking for more,” she said.
Also participating is the Wal-Nuts, comprised of a group of Englewood Walmart associates.
“There are 10 people in our team,” said Patti Loveland, a team leader for the Wal-Nuts. “We do a weekly fundraiser at the Blue Dolphin Car Wash each Monday for the month of January from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.”
The Wal-Nuts recently sold ornaments, jewelry, crochets and hand-knitted cowls at the Tringali Center.
“We’re about 20 percent to our goal of $2,000,” Loveland said. “It usually picks up around February.”
Each team sets its own financial goal, Kekel said.
Some of the top participating teams include Englewood Primary Care and Friends with $490, Happy Heart Team with $455, Genesis Christian Academy with $212 and Englewood United Methodist Church with $200.
For more information on the Englewood Relay, go to relayforlife. org/englewoodfl or call 941-365-2858.