The American Cancer Society's 2012 Relay For Life season in Southeastern Hillsborough County wraps up this weekend with the area's historically largest event, at Plant City High School, poised to raise the totals significantly.
Opening ceremonies for the Plant City Relay For Life kick off today, April 20, at 6 p.m., with the Survivor Lap commencing 30 minutes later.
Plant City is the last of this year's seven Relays For Life in Southeastern Hillsborough County.
Collectively, the six Relays For Life to date have collected $633,654, according to preliminary figures obtained from the American Cancer Society unit office on Oakfield Drive in Brandon. Preliminary numbers are expected to rise as Relay For Life teams have through the summer to continue collecting funds for their teams and events.
Last year's total for the six events was $629,868. Counting the seventh Relay, at Plant City, that total increased dramatically, to $901,126.
Plant City perennially has been one of the largest Relay For Life events in the state, with last year's receipts of $271,258 represeting 30 percent of the total.
Combined, the FishHawk and Riverview Relays For Life this year so far have raised $324,511, an 11 percent increase over the year before's final total.
Both events this year and last were held the same weekend, just miles apart from each other on FishHawk Bouleverad/Boyette Road, at Riverview and Newsome highs schools.
Based on preliminary totals, Riverview's Relay topped last year's by 15.8 percent; the FishHawk Relay posted a 6.9 percent increase.
So far, the biggest gain this year has been posted by the Seffner Relay For Life, held this year for the first time at a high school. The Seffner Relay to date has raised $53,526, a 32.7 percent increase over the year before's tally.
Seffner held its Relay For Life the same weekend as both Riverview and Newsome. All three overnight events were held over the course of March 30 through April 1.
The following weekend, Relays For Life were held at Bloomingdale, Brandon and Lennard high schools, with Lennard each year rotating SouthShore Relay For Life hosting duties with East Bay High School.
Brandon's Relay For Life was noticeably smaller this year in terms of teams and participants. As a result, its receipts were lower as well, from $98,444 last year (total) to this year, $51,802 (preliminary total).
Bloomingdale and SouthShore represented gains of 1.7 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively. Combined, the events raised $203,915 for the fight against cancer, with SouthShore topping six figures for the first time.
Reasons for walking the talk are as unique as the stories that drive people to participate, according to the Relay For Life Web site.
"This is your opportunity to not only honor cancer survivors and remember people we have lost, but also to raise funds and awareness to help save lives," adds the account. "Because of your support, we are creating a world where cancer can't claim another year of anyone's life. You are helping create a world with less cancer and more birthdays."
- (2011 coverage)
(For more coverage from the 2011 Relay For Life season, click here.)