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Sun Times Feature Story

When Support Is Everything!

• American Cancer Society Relay For Life Event Is More Than Raising Money

By Larry Blustein

   You can set your calendar by Sal Braccone. Every year, the Hallandale Beach resident is at the National Cancer Society's Relay For Life event, raising money, supporting and taking part with his wife, Phyllis.

   For those who have come to know and respect Braccone for the money he and his wife continue to raise from their booth each year, they understand someone who knows exactly how important support is.

   This year, many got to know Sal Braccone - the cancer survivor - who spoke at the yearly event at Peter Bluesten Park as dozens came to support those who have fought a brave fight.

    Because he has been so busy, raising money and helping others, wearing his survivor purple shirt, many have forgotten that he and his family have also had to endure the rigors of the disease. 

   "Events like these teach all of us that we should never give up," Braccone explained. "No matter how many people come out and support something like this, it's always great to know that you do have many in your corner."

   The Braccones have been familiar faces at the yearly events. They take part in the opening ceremonies, take a survivor lap around the relay track and enjoy the survivor dinners with others who have gone through the disease - in one form or another.

   Whether it's raising money or showing up to take part in the Hallandale Beach/Pembroke Park/Relay For Life, so many continue to give their own time to help bring awareness to the several ways you can be a part of this.

   This year, Hallandale Beach residents Barbara Southwick, Leo Grachow  and Mayor Joy Cooper - along with so many -helped to organize this year's Relay For Life made this event, making it very special indeed.

   "Everyone knows someone who has been affected or touched by cancer," Southwick said. "That's why having something like this is a great mix of fun and getting serious about fighting this disease."

   Members of the City Police and Fire Departments took part in this event once again this year - attracting teams such as: All Fired Up, City of Hallandale Beach Relay Team, Team In Memory of Janie Mae, Mah Jong Babes, Maribel Relay For Life, Minhas, Polo Club Team, Sister Circle, The Golden Isles Tennis Tournament, The Hallandale Beach Post Officer and Watkins Elementary Dance & O'Ambassadors Club.

   If you are looking to make a donation - year round - and help "Finish The Fight" - just contact the National Cancer Society to do your part in this ongoing battle!



   One of the major highlights of the opening of this year's event was Jaycee Driesen, who was very impressive with the singing of the National Anthem.

   Driesen, who is known as Jaycee, began her career in  Long Island, but has recently been picking up many new fans in south Florida.

   You can follow Jaycee at



   An event such as this could not be possible without the support of local sponsors who took part and made a major contribution.

   Carini's Pizza & Pasta, Florida Gardens Thrift, Om'chaye Wellness & Fitness, Fritanga Restaurant, Walmart, Friendly Nail Spa, Publix Matteo's, Upper Deck, Target, Five Guys Burgers, III Forks, Related Group, Flashback Diner, Piola Restaurant, Mayor Joy Cooper and City of Hallandale Beach Departments & Staff.

   "What is so special about this event is that we get the chance to honor the local survivors," said Mayor Cooper. "I look around and see so many who care about others - and that is truly what this is all about."