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Pinellas teams up for march against cancer

When she was 29, Sandy Coniglione, then a mother of 3-year-old twin girls, was diagnosed with and treated for ovarian cancer.

Fifteen years later, living in Port Richey, she tackled breast cancer. Shortly after that, doctors found two tumors on her brain.

Today, with three bouts with cancer behind her, 53-year-old Coniglione has been in remission for eight years.

But on May 21, when Coniglione walks in Palm Harbor's American Cancer Society Relay For Life, she won't participate only as a cancer survivor.

She also will walk in memory of her four grandparents and her best friend, all who succumbed to the disease, as well as her 27-year-old daughter, Jennifer, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago.

Hundreds of survivors and their families, friends and supporters are expected at Palm Harbor University High School for the event, one of nine Relay for Life walks scheduled in Pinellas County this spring to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Organizers hope to raise $40,000 for the American Cancer Society. Former NBA player and East Lake resident Matt Geiger, whose twin brother successfully battled Hodgkin's disease in the early 1990s, is the event's honorary chairman.

For the relay, throngs of cancer survivors and their supporters will gather at a high school track and set up campsites.

For the rest of the evening and into the next morning, at least one member from each team will be walking around the track.

Each team member is asked to raise at least $100 prior to the event and can raise the money however they would like.

For example, Coniglione's daughter Jennifer, who works as a waitress, will ask customers to donate her tips from one day at work to the society.

At the event, each team will hold an additional fundraiser from their campsite, such as selling food or drinks, hosting a game or offering services, like a massage, in exchange for a donation.

The Relay For Life will begin 6 p.m. May 21 and last until noon the next day at Palm Harbor University High School.

The registration fee is $100 a team.

In addition to the North Pinellas events, the cancer society plans to hold Relay for Life events on April 2 at Madeira Beach Middle School, April 16 at the Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport and May 14 at the Town Square Plaza Park in Pinellas Park, Osceola High School in Seminole and Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg.

To volunteer

American Cancer Society's Relay for Life events scheduled for mid and north Pinellas:

Clearwater, Long Center, 1501 N Belcher Road

6 p.m., April 2

Contact Erin DePaul, 812-7009 or

Oldsmar, Canal Park, Tampa Road

6 p.m., April 23

Contact Melissa Schultz, 812-7008 or

Dunedin High School, 1651 Pinehurst Road

6 p.m., April 23

Contact Melissa Schultz, 812-7008 or

Palm Harbor University High School, 1900 Omaha St.

6 p.m., May 21

Contact Kristen Reddin, 812-7003 or