By FRANCIS FEDOR
It’s beginning to feel like the start of the holiday season. The weather has cooled just a bit, and we now head into a time of giving and giving back. In the community of Valencia Lakes, the residents got to walk into the season and get some exercise to boot.
Valencia Lakes Women’s Club hosted its 12th annual Walk-for-the-Cure, a two-mile walk around the main Valencia Lake, with the proceeds going to the Moffitt Cancer Research Center for the good work that the institution does working towards eliminating cancer or, at least, making life easier for those who develop cancer. Moffitt is one of only 47 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the country and the only one based in Florida. Treating more than 300,000 patients, Moffitt focuses only on treating cancer and doing research on all types of cancer, from simple to complex. More than 275 Valencia Lakes residents participated in this year’s edition of the walk. Over the years, Valencia Lakes has donated over $100,000 to Moffitt. While the goal of the walk was to add over $15k to that amount, the group is anticipating over $17k from the walk.
The walk began with a photo of cancer survivors, who led the way for the group on a mostly cloudy and cool Wimauma morning. The participants, in their snazzy “walk” shirts and water in hand, hit the pavement at 8:30 Saturday morning, Nov. 6th, for the two-mile scenic walk around the Valencia Lakes main lake, the birds chirping and the sand cranes cheering on the walkers. After a brisk fall walk around the lake, which took roughly 30 minutes for the first to complete the circle, the participants returned to the social hall for a continental breakfast in the VL Clubhouse. The walkers refreshed themselves with coffee or orange juice, fruit, and a doughnut or a bagel with cream cheese. It was a great moment for the community, coming together to support a great cause while getting a little exercise and social engagement with other residents.
The event finished with a raffle and silent auction for a number of themed baskets. The high bidders walked away with treasures, some of the beneficiaries being the pets that will enjoy the new toys and yummy treats that made up a few of the baskets. The participants dispersed, hoping their participation will help many who need their support to receive better treatments and, hopefully, will eventually lead to ending cancer all together. This year’s walk, a win/win for the community and for cancer research, was the result of hard work by the walk’s organizers, including Carol Mazza, VP of Fundraising, and Maggie Lalk, chairperson of the walk.