By Martie Thompson

“Lights, Camera, Cure! Take Action Against Cancer” will be the theme of Relay for Life of the First Coast, scheduled for Saturday, April 22, from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. at Nease High School. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life’s mission is to end cancer as we know it, for everyone. The entire community is welcome and encouraged to attend the family-friendly event.

The event will kick off with an opening ceremony and there will be a survivor and caregiver reception with games and activities. Attendees will enjoy entertainment, food, and fun. The evening will conclude with a beautiful Luminaria Ceremony where loved ones touched by cancer will be honored. 

Relay For Life is a volunteer-led experience that unites communities across the world to celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost to cancer, and raise funds to improve the lives of people with cancer and their families through advocacy, research, and patient support, to ensure everyone has an opportunity to prevent, detect, treat, and survive cancer.

“We share a passion to save lives, celebrate lives, and work to end cancer as we know it — for everyone,” said Becky Kimball. “In 2023, more than 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States and more than 600,000 Americans will die from cancer. Being there for anyone impacted by cancer is year-round work, and we’re excited to kick-off the Relay season for 2023.” 

Relay for Life of the First Coast raised more than $90,000 for the American Cancer Society’s mission in 2022 and this year’s goal is to raise $60,000. “We’re partnering with our local Jacksonville Hope Lodge to let our community know how their donations make a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families by providing a home away from home while receiving life-saving treatments,” Kimball said. “We are asking our supporters to bring canned goods and supplies to Relay For Life to help support our local Hope Lodge.” 

Since 1985, Relay For Life has raised $6.8 billion, allowing the American Cancer Society to invest $3.1 billion in cancer research, contributing to 3.5 million fewer cancer deaths. Dollars raised each year by more than 250,000 Relay participants across the country help support the American Cancer Society’s mission in countless ways — providing education and advocating for the needs of cancer patients and their families and providing essential services throughout their cancer journey. 

“On the First Coast, Relayers come together because of a shared passion for ending cancer as we know it. No matter how cancer has impacted your life and how you want to get involved, you have a team here, ready to welcome you,” said Jaclyn Rodriguez, senior development manager of the Southeast Region for the American Cancer Society.

There are many ways to get involved. 

  • Join a Relay community to connect with survivors, caregivers, and others impacted by cancer in your local community. Visit to sign up for Relay and join your community in the fight against cancer. 
  • Donate: Your donation fuels the American Cancer Society’s fight against cancer. Visit  or donate to your own team today. 

Visit to learn more about Relay For Life.

Photo courtesy Becky Kimball
Survivors’ Walk.

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