Local News

Event to support cancer research, honor cancer survivors

SEBRING – For Darte Ahlbrandt and his mother, Doris, supporting Relay for Life has a personal meaning. Darte Ahlbrandt said he suffered from having a large tumor that turned out to be non-cancerous, and his mother is a breast cancer survivor. “Me and my mother are very fortunate,” he said, giving a lot of the credit to God. Ahlbrandt, a resident of Hardee County who said he strongly supports Relay for Life, which raises money for cancer research, said he will provide entertainment with Christian rock music during the Sebring Relay for Life, which runs from April 20-21.
The event will be held at Fireman’s Field and is expected to have numerous teams and dozens of participants supporting the cause, said Betty Springsteen, event chairwoman. The event will start at noon April 20 with a presentation of colors by the Sebring Junior ROTC, the National Anthem sang by Sarenna Stoner and invocation by Mary Hernandez, a pastor. During the two-day event they will have numerous team events, including a luminaria ceremony at 8 p.m. during which luminaries with the names of cancer patients, survivors and those who have died, will hold a vigil around the track. Springsteen said last year the event raised nearly $80,000 for cancer research. This year they seek to raise $90,000, she said. On April 15, plans are to put up purple ribbons along U.S. 27. They also plan to put up ribbons in the downtown area if the city approves. The honorary chairwoman of the event is Bobbie Clark, a survivor of a form of breast cancer. She had surgery in 2010 and now works as a health wellness coordinator at Florida Hospital Heartland Division. Springsteen said part of the reason she became involved is that she’s had family members and friends who had cancer. Many involved with the event are not only helping with raising money for research, but also trying to make people aware of what they should do to help prevent them from getting cancer or dying of it. Ahlbrandt said he and his mother often speak to others about the need for early testing to find the disease in its early stages. He said his mother was “really lucky that they found the cancer when it was in its early stages.” Jmeisel@highlandstoday.com

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