News & Resources

Mission Moment: Our Venice Senior Living Community Unites Against Cancer

At Village On The Isle, volunteering is one way we live our mission of our close-knit retirement community. As a not-for-profit Life Plan Community committed to sharing God’s love, we enhance the quality of life and meet the human and spiritual needs of our residents, staff and greater community.

From helping hands to event organizers, resident volunteers are essential threads in our social fabric. One annual event that unites residents, staff and neighbors is the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. This event is one example of Village On The Isle’s compassion and support as we celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones and work to help end this disease. 

Everybody Pitches in to Make the Day a Success                                      

This year’s Relay for Life event takes place on April 25, and residents can choose to walk either .13 or .5 miles around our 17-acre campus, followed by a luminary ceremony that concludes the day’s events. Each luminary candle is inscribed with an individual name honoring a current survivor or a loved one lost to cancer. Participants are also asked to bring canned goods, which are later donated to a local food pantry.

Putting together an event of this magnitude really does take a village. Every year, the Relay for Life committee starts its fundraising campaign in January and concludes in April. And it’s truly an “all hands on deck” effort that spills into the larger Venice community.

Residents can purchase colorful luminary bags, which are hand-decorated by students at the nearby Student Leadership Academy. Other popular fundraising efforts for the relay include a wine and cheese reception on Valentine’s Day and a Friday night bingo bash. Bingo night is a favorite because participants can win gift baskets and prizes crafted by our residents at our campus craft store or woodworking shop.

As the event draws near, residents and staff members get into the spirit by purchasing T-shirts with the Relay for Life logo on the front and the Village On The Isle logo on the back. Residents and staff are encouraged to wear their shirts on Thursdays, and it’s truly a heartwarming sight to see an ocean of these shirts flowing through our dining rooms.

The fruits of all this hard work are phenomenal. Last year, our vibrant volunteers raised $6,367; the year before that, we netted $5,171. As for 2024, we’re shooting for the moon by increasing that goal to $7,000.

For Two Residents, Relay for Life Hits Close to Home

This year’s event is particularly meaningful, because two of our committee members are themselves cancer survivors. Amid their personal battle against cancer, residents Cindy B. and Holly K. found themselves fighting it simultaneously. Their paths converged via Relay for Life, where their shared journey ignited a deep sense of purpose and commitment to making a difference.

Cindy, a breast cancer survivor, participated in her first Relay for Life when she moved to Florida. “I spent the night at a high school football field, walking around the track,” she explains. “As a survivor, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a way to honor the people I know living and dying with the disease. So, I was thrilled when I found out Village On The Isle decided they wanted to host an event, and I wanted to join them!”

For Holly, her participation in the yearly relay began in Massachusetts in 2001 after losing a sister to breast cancer. Her participation became even more meaningful after she lost a second sister to lung cancer 10 years later.

“In 2019, I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer and went through treatment,” she explains. “When we moved to Village On The Isle in 2020, the then-chair of Relay for Life asked if I wanted to join the committee because they knew about my experience. I jumped at the chance to make such a meaningful contribution.”

Living Out Our Mission Through Meaningful Service, Every Day

Together, our residents, staff and neighbors weave a rich tapestry of support through volunteering, enriching lives and fostering a sense of belonging. In addition to Relay for Life, volunteers help run our campus store, fashion boutique, craft room and woodworking shop. Funds raised through the sale of items are often donated to local charities, or to members of the assisted living and memory care communities right here at Village On The Isle. Members of our sewing group also donate handmade quilts to a local church preschool. And when these same students volunteer at our retirement community as teenagers, many tell us that they still have their quilts! 

Helping each other through life’s challenges is also part of what makes us a true village. For example, several of our residents help Chaplain Rob Hall lead his weekly grief support group. You’ll also find our independent living residents taking part in games, Bible studies, crafts and other events with their neighbors in assisted living and memory care.

Cindy sums it up: “We’re very active people within our own senior living community, but you can also find us in the greater community, representing Village On The Isle or sharing with our friends what a great place we live in!”

Ready for a Secure, Maintenance-Free Life Ripe with Opportunities to Contribute?

At Village On The Isle, acts of kindness flourish, creating a warm and inclusive environment that not only unlocks the joy of giving back but also helps build a stronger, more united retirement community that celebrates everyone’s unique talents.

To learn more about our many clubs and enriching activities, or to schedule a tour, call (941) 202-4451.

Village On The Isle is a not-for-profit Life Plan Community in Venice affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. We are committed to sharing God’s love by promoting individual growth and dignity, enhancing the quality of life and meeting the human and spiritual needs of our residents, staff and community.