Despite recent freezing temperatures, an area woman will host a beach party in Laurens this weekend.
Tracy Bender, of Franklin, is holding a beach-themed Zumba-marathon, or Zumbathon, Saturday at Laurens Central School, where party-goers will have the opportunity to warm up — not with sun bathing, but with the popular Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness program.
Participants can register for the Zumba Fitness marathon from noon until 12:30 p.m., and the workout will go from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Bender said entry costs $10 per person, and the money raised will go toward her Relay for Life team, Robin’s Angels.
Bender, a graphic designer at The Daily Star, said this will be her 11th year participating in the Relay for Life, which is held in Delhi each April, and her fourth year as captain of her own team.
Robin’s Angels, Bender’s 7-person relay team, is named after her sister, who died from lung cancer in 2002 at the age of 43.
“It was about 12 years ago,” Bender said, with tears in her eyes, “but I still get very emotional.”
Bender said her first experience with Relay for Life was more than 12 years ago, when her son, Zachary, helped out at the first Relay for Life in Delhi. With the event occurring so soon after her sister’s death, Bender said, it was too difficult for her to participate that year. But after her son’s Boy Scout group created its own team several years later, Bender said, she decided to make her own.
Bender said Robin’s Angels raised more than $2,507 for cancer research last year after multiple bake sales, luminary sales, a holiday craft show and other fundraisers. Money raised at Relay for Life events goes toward cancer research, education and patient services, she said.
“It is important to keep supporting the cause so that a cure for all cancers will be found,” she said. “I feel like I am making a difference, even if it’s a small one, in the fight against cancer.”