The first ever St. John Relay for Life has an event chair who is moving full steam ahead with the planned February 19 American Cancer Society fundraiser at Winston Wells ball field.
Island Style Weddings owner Mary Bartolucci has brought her unparalleled event planning talents to the St. John Relay for Life committee as event chair and is ready to throw the island’s biggest fundraiser.
“I have been affected personally by cancer twice and I had been thinking about doing something,” said Bartolucci. “I hadn’t made it to a meeting yet at the time, but I heard they didn’t have an event chair. I thought, ‘I can do this.’”
Taking advantage of the down time before the busy Spring wedding season kicks in, Bartolucci grabbed the reins of the group and hasn’t looked back.
“I know this is going to be a great event,” she said. “The island of St. John is just an amazing place and I know from the meetings we’ve had and the feedback that we’ve already gotten, that it’s just going to be great.”
Bartolucci also credited the hard-working and dedicated St. John Relay for Life committee for giving her the confidence to predict the event’s sure success.
“We have an outstanding core group of people working on this,” she said. “It’s a great team.”
The event kicks off on Saturday afternoon, February 19, at 4 p.m. with an opening ceremony, after which cancer survivors take to the track. Following the opening lap, one member of each team must be on the track at all times until the event wraps up at 10 a.m. on Sunday, February 20, explained Bartolucci.
The 18-hour event has a simple, but powerful, message.
“Cancer never sleeps,” said Bartolucci. “That is the key to the event. There isn’t anyone who hasn’t been touched by this disease.”
The night will include a special survivor’s dinner, for which cancer survivors must register, Bartolucci added.
“The survivors are allowed to bring one caretaker to the dinner, but we need them to contact us to register,” she said. “We’re planning a really elegant and amazing dinner, so that is going to be really fun.”
The luminary ceremony will be at 9 p.m., which is sure to be an emotional part of the night, Bartolucci explained.
“People buy luminaries to remember those who have lost their battle with cancer, or are battling it now,” said the St. John Relay for Life event chair. “At 9 p.m., we’ll light the luminaries and place them in the bleachers to spell out the word, ‘Hope.’ It’s going to be very powerful.”
There are tons of events and games planned for the entire night and into the next morning including live music and activities for children, Bartolucci added.
“We want this to be a really fun family event that everyone can get involved with,” she said. “Everyone should come out and show their support for this since cancer has just affected so many people. And it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Residents can support the St. John Relay for Life by forming teams of 10 to 15 people or by becoming sponsors of the event.
Woody’s Seafood Saloon was named the event’s official sponsor, and set the Platinum level of giving, for donating more than $11,000 from the restaurant’s October fundraiser. There are also Gold, Silver, Bronze and what the group is calling “CURE-ator” sponsorship levels, ranging from $5,000 to $1,000.
For more information about helping to make sure the first ever St. John Relay for Life truly is an event to remember, email email@example.com.