Life-affirming event brings college and business community closer.

Participants in the Relay for Life of Blue Lagoon

Participants in the Relay for Life of Blue Lagoon

The stars twinkled, the breeze wafted, candlelight flickered, and approximately 150 volunteers—including a team from the American Marketing Association (AMA) chapter in the College of Business Administration—donned comfortable shoes to help bring a cure for cancer closer to reality, one step at a time. It was all part of the Relay for Life of Blue Lagoon on May 19-20, 2006.

The event, which took place in the area between the two FedEx buildings in the Blue Lagoon area, raised $28,500 for the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) many programs, including research and education. Equally important: Relay for Life walk-a-thons take place all over the country celebrating life to honor and remember those touched by cancer.

A heartfelt connection highlighted the event.

Jennifer Weiss (BBA ’06), an account manager with AFRAM Import & Export and past president of the college’s AMA chapter is such a person. Her mother died of breast cancer a little more than two years ago.

“Of all the attendees, it was the cancer survivors who were the most enthusiastic and appreciative of the event. That’s what made the effort worthwhile to me,” said Weiss, who served as AMA team captain—a role she also played in 2005—as well as serving as one of the fundraising board members this year.

That effort began months ago and included three previous fundraisers, which enabled AMA to raise $3,000 before the Relay itself.

“These events were very valuable because they allowed me to realize how much money single individuals can raise through spreading the word and marketing for a great cause,” she said.

At about 10:00 p.m., the traditional Luminaria Ceremony took place. Participants lit candles in memory of those who have been lost to cancer and especially to recognize those who are surviving and thriving. Weiss found that part of the experience particularly moving.

“When almost all the other candles had burned out, my mom’s was still glowing strong. It felt as though she were inside the flame, making her presence felt,” she said.

Forging a new partnership with business offers more hope.

Relay for Life of Blue Lagoon brought together the community of Blue Lagoon—a professional sector of Miami with many university associations and home to corporations such as Burger King, Oracle, and Hewlett Packard.

Melany D. Michelena (BBA ’05), marketing research specialist, TotalBank, participated for the first time. She’s still active in the college’s AMA chapter, serving as its alumni chair.

“I hope that next year, my employer also will become involved,” she said. “It is a great cause.”

Though it took added effort to convince the corporate world to partner with a university group, Weiss feels it was worth it.

“Once you have the commitment of a business, the bond is a lot stronger and more likely to be long term,” she said.

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