myrtle corbin_cc_fc.jpgDANIA BEACH — It took self-control for Myrtle Corbin not to show her displeasure when a nurse said­ she had to wait an additional hour for her chemotherapy treatment.

“After all, my nerves were already on edge because of the chemo and, plus, I wanted to hurry up and leave the cancer center.  I had things to do,” she said.

That was before Corbin learned the reason for the delay: a 6-month-old baby needed emergency chemo. 

“A baby needing chemo shocked me because I had become accustomed to hearing the tribulations of adults getting treatment,” said Corbin, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007.

Some of those adults were members of Corbin’s family. For 15 years prior to her own diagnosis, Corbin cared for her baby sister, who also was diagnosed with breast cancer and died 15 years later.

Six months before her eldest sister retired as a nurse in California, she, too, was found to have breast cancer and, six months later, she was diagnosed with colon cancer also.

Her niece was diagnosed with colon cancer this February and in March she underwent surgery for liver cancer.

“There are so many faces associated with cancer,” Corbin said. “From babies to the elderly, cancer indiscriminately lingers in people from all walks of life.”

Corbin, who is vice-president of Community Development at the Community Bank of Broward, is chairwoman of this year’s American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life in Dania Beach, the annual event that salutes survivors of cancer, pays tribute to those who died from the disease and generates cash for cancer-fighting programs.

The Relay will begin at 6 p.m. Friday, April 15 and continue for 18 hours through Saturday, April 16. The theme is  “Disco Mania – Staying Alive.” Attendees are being asked to wear their best disco outfits and join in the walk, dance, games, contests and raffles that will comprise the event.

A Survivor and Caregiver lap will take place after the opening ceremony, followed by a dinner to honor survivors and the lighting of the luminaria or small paper lanterns in memory of those who have died. U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, is honorary chairman.

“I am proud to say that my eldest sister and niece will attend the relay,” said  Corbin, a grandmother of two whose community service includes being board president of Liberia Economic and Social Development Inc., financial advisor and member of First Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, secretary of Dania Beach Kiwanis Club, board member of Dania Lions Club, member of Women’s and Dania Senior Citizens clubs, former commissioner of the South Broward Hospital District and former board member of the Dania Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The Dania Beach Relay is one of thousands being held across the world, including among U.S. troops stationed overseas.

“Dania Beach residents, friends, supporters and sponsors continue to step up to the plate and do everything possible to contribute their time and money for cancer prevention and research,” Corbin said. “Our goal is to have 30 Relay teams and raise $75,000 for this cause.  We have not met our financial goal as yet, but we will continue to work beyond the Relay event to meet our goal.”

The return on money raised from Relays has been new laws, medications, prevention, and treatment,  leading to the reduction of cancer deaths and incidences, according to a statement from Dania Beach Relay for Life. Ninety-five percent of the funds raised is spent on American Cancer Society programs, the statement said.

People donate money at the Relay but most of the funds comes in from Relay teams and local sponsors.  Usually, teams comprise up to 10 people and they  must first donate $100 in order to be registered. Team members then seek donations from co-workers, friends and others.

The city of Dania Beach team members raised more than $6,000 by sending requests to friends all over the U.S.  Also, donations come from the city and Community Bank of Broward. The Memorial Healthcare System gives a lump sum to the American Cancer Society and that money is divided among Relay teams.

Also, during the Relay, teams sell food and raffle gift baskets to raise money.  Some schools have organized penny drives among the students.

WHAT:  American Cancer Society’s Dania Beach Relay for Life
WHEN:  Opening ceremony, 6 p.m., Friday, April 15, with the Relay lasting 18 hours
WHERE: Frost Park, 300 NE Second St., Dania Beach. 
COST: There is no charge but donations will be accepted.
Contact: Sharon Bacon, team development and program coordinator,  954-249-6988,  or Myrtle Corbin, events chairwoman, 954-540-8716.