Get Ready To Rock '4 A Cure'
The concert will feature a variety of live music, a Taste of the Town event, a chlidren's play area and more.
The Land O’ Lakes Community Center will rock Feb. 26 during the Concert 4 A Cure.
The annual production features live music, a children’s play area, a Taste of the Town event, home-baked goodies and more from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission to the event is $5 with each food ticket for the taste costing an additional $1. Money raised during the concert will go to the American Cancer Society for the Relay For Life at Land O' Lakes High School April 15.
Lilly Fontanez, co-captain of the Land O’ Lakes Sun Rays relay team, is coordinating the event. She said the idea came from her son Juan Fontanez three years ago.
The concert will have a little something for everybody so there will be two different places to listen to live music with a variety of talent.
“We will have a Christian concert going on inside with music by Heritage Church’s music ministry, Grace Family Church, Myrtle Lake (Baptist) Church and Denny Benitez and Robert Lester will perform country gospel,” Fontanez said. “We have Jose Melendez of DJ Genesis for outside between the bands and we have rock music and a performance of smooth R& B and jazz by saxophone player Brian K. Bolen. All these people are donating their musical talent and their time.”
In addition to rocking music, there will also be a Taste of the Town outside with a number of local restaurants including ABC Pizza, Big Apple Bagels, Papa Johns, Domino’s Pizza, Tijuana Flats, China Star, Pepe’s Cuban Café, Rapscallions, Smoothie King, Five Star Pizza, Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s and A Cup of Organic.
A children’s activity area will be set up outside with two bouncy houses and a popcorn machine donated by 5 Alarm Party Rental. Ronald McDonald will be at the event handing out gift certificates for McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A will also give out gift certificates.
If the samples are not enough, Fontanez also has a group of people making home-baked goodies to sell.
“I have all the people I work with at the Pasco County Health Department in Land O’ Lakes making home-baked goodies,” Fontanez said. “I am very excited about the strawberry shortcake that will be new this year. We will also have brownies, flan, funfetti cupcakes and more.”
Currently Fontanez is trying to decide between a silent auction and using items for raffle. At the moment she does not have enough items for a silent auction, but she was hoping for donations. She said she also needs a sound guy and sponsors to help with the cost of the T-shirts her son Juan Fontanez designed.
Lilly Fontanez said she and her family got involved in the Relay for Life seven years ago because of a little girl named Taylor Johnson. Fontanez lived in Lake Padgett Estates East when Taylor died of cancer. Lilly has been involved as a team captain ever since.
“It is in my heart, I cannot stop,” Fontanez said. “Taylor changed my family’s life. This opened the door to all the wonderful people here in Land O’ Lakes. I think many people would be surprised how many people have been touched by cancer. Everybody knows someone with cancer so why not celebrate them and help them?”
Since then, cancer struck a little closer to home when her brother George Calderon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“He is the reason why I do this,” Fontanez said. “He is cancer-free now, praise God. He was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma three years ago, but now he is celebrating one year cancer free.”
So many people in the Land O’ Lakes community come together to create this fun event by helping with donations of time, items and talent, according to Fontanez. She said she has been helped by local businesses like K Johnson Lawn Care Service, Island Computer Services in Lutz, Walter Gifts and Graphics and more.
“First of all, I have to give glory to God, because it all comes from him,” Fontanez said. “This community has just been awesome. This event is all about celebrating the survivors and their families and friends. People should come out and celebrate and help a good cause. There will be a cure to cancer one day. I am 100 percent optimistic.”
Other Relay For Life teams will also raise money at the event.
“We have other teams setting up booths at the concert,” Fontanez said. “We will have the Winderness Wildcats, Gateway Chiropractic and the Lake Padgett Estates East team called Pennies From Heaven.”
Lisa Stoessel is the community representative for the American Cancer Society. She helps to organize the local relays.
“The goal this year is $35,000,” Stoessel said. “Last year we raised $24,000, so we are shooting for the moon.”
The relay and all of the fundraisers leading up to it are a good way to let the community know about the American Cancer Society, she said. At the society’s office, 21756 State Road 54 in Lutz, there are a number of programs to help people with cancer.
“It gives the community awareness for the local programs we provide,” Stoessel said. “We have a Rock Camp for kids with cancer. It is a place for children with disabilities to have a normal camp experience. At our office, we have a room full of wigs for people who lose their hair and we have prosthesis for women who have had breast cancer. We also have programs like the Road to Recovery where we can give people rides to their chemo treatments and doctors’ appointments.”
Stoessel said she loves everything Fontanez does for the Sun Rays team and through her work as the survivor chair for the relay.
“Lilly is an amazing, talented multi-tasker,” Stoessel said. “She makes sure everyone knows what is going on and how they can help.”
Fontanez said she is working on getting cancer survivors to participate in the survivor lap at the relay and then attend a dinner afterwards.
“It is all about the cancer survivors,” Fontanez said.
The team also has other fundraisers like Striking for a Cure on the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. at Royal Lanes in Land O’ Lakes and Bingo for a Cure March 26 at 6 p.m. at the Land O’ Lakes Community Center on U.S. 41.
“One hundred percent of the proceeds we raise from bingo goes to the relay team,” Fontanez said. “We got some help from the Winderness Wildcats, another relay team. We support each other. We all come together to help other relay teams.”
The next big event for the relay is Feb. 5 when members of relay teams will paint the town purple from 10 a.m. to noon all along State Road 54.
For more information, call the American Cancer Society 813-949-0291, ext. 5612, to talk to Lisa Stoessel or visit cancer.org.