The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life may be about raising money for cancer research, but it also honors those who have been affected by the disease.
Relay for Life events around the nation give survivors a chance to celebrate their good health with event activities such as the Survivor Lap. This lap opens every Relay for Life event around the country.
“Whenever you take a lap around for the Survivor Lap, everyone is just cheering you on and there’s all this positive energy just, like, hope for survival,” said caregiver Genevieve Rodriguez. “It’s just a great atmosphere.”
Cancer survivors receive a special T-shirt and sash to wear during the duration of the event so that everyone knows they have overcome the disease.
Their caregivers also receive a commemorative sash to wear.
“Now as a survivor of an insidious breast cancer, which could come back at any time, to be considered a survivor is a wonderful miracle,” said survivor Eileen Golisz.
Luminary bags are another way that Relay for Life participants can honor family and friends that are continuing to fight or have died of cancer.
Each bag is decorated and then lined up along the track. They are lit with candles during the Luminaria Ceremony that takes place at night along with a silent lap, where participants walk the track in silence to memorialize loved ones who have died of cancer.
To learn more about Relay for Life and its contributions to the American Cancer Society, visit www.relayforlife.org.
The Cinderella Project of Pasco County is offering free prom dresses and accessories to students on a budget.
The organization has over 1,200 dresses to offer to any girl that isn’t able to purchase a dress of their own. The dresses come in both small and larger sizes.
“It just takes one. That one special girl to walk in and they don’t want to take the dress off,” said organizer Julie Rockwell. “It just takes one to come up and give you a hug at the end and tell you ‘thank you’.”
Along with dresses, there are also donated shoes, purses and jewelry for girls to browse through and match to their dress.
“I like giving back to the community,” said volunteer Laura Luter. “Seeing them have joy over finding the right dress for them, they know it immediately, and that’s the reward.”
The non-profit organization has been holding Cinderella boutiques around Pasco for the past 13 years.
Each boutique’s location is donated to the project for free.
“It’s important that they experience prom because it’s a chance at one night maybe out of the year that they get to really dress up and feel beautiful,” Rockwell said. “I would hate to see any girl be able to go because she couldn’t afford a dress or a pair of shoes or some jewelry.”
The last boutique is taking place this Saturday, March 12 in at 38022 River Road in Dade City from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The University of South Florida’s School of Music currently features its own junior and senior students during recital season.
Recitals are a part of both junior and senior music majors’ curriculum.
Junior and music education major Kelsey Donahoo had her clarinet recital March 31.
“I was just so excited to show everyone all these technical abilities that I’m able to do,” Donahoo said. “Once I took that final bow I was thinking ‘Wow, that’s another big step towards graduation. It’s almost here.’ ”
Students are responsible for not only picking and practicing their musical selections, but reserving the room and getting the word out too.
They create the flyers that are posted throughout the School of Music as well as the programs that are handed out to people as they walk into the Lewis and Enid Barness Recital Hall.
“I think it’s a great bonding thing for everybody,” said physics major and vocalist Regina Battista. “I think it’s such a great opportunity for everybody to learn and for everybody to learn about each other as well.”
Recitals take plenty of preparation with music students practicing many months prior to when recital season starts. They also have weekly lessons with their assigned music professor to practice their pieces.
“In college you’re mostly in your ensembles and then I’m focusing on teaching,” said Donahoo. “So to be able to build up my clarinet professional skills up to this level to be able to perform my own solo performance was an amazing experience.”
Recital season will continue until the end of the month.