St. John Tradewinds News

“Save the Coconuts” Cancer Fundraiser Kicks Off With Lemonade, Block Party

CRUZ BAY — St. John residents and visitors will soon hear the new cry of the St. John Cancer Fund — “Save the Coconuts” — heralding the first of two fundraisers set for October with a block party to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month Cancer fund chairwoman, Mary Bartolucci announced the fund raising event schedule for 2015-2016. Two events — one in October and one in February — lead up to the annual Light Up the Night walkathon.

The first event is a block party hosted by Woody’s Seafood Saloon and the Across the Street Bar set for Oct. 17. Efforts leading up to the day began about two weeks ago, organizer Megan Ramsey said.

And to ensure the fundraiser’s success, Ramsey said she’s recruiting her entire family, including her children, who set up a promotional lemonade stand outside the business over the weekend.

“They’re great,” she said. “They go up to people and get them to buy lemonade.” Which gives watchful parents a chance to remind customers to turn out for the block party.

Promotors Line-up Supporters
Meanwhile, promoters have visited local businesses, restaurants and resorts to procure raffle prizes. Musical entertainers DJ Adonis and John Gavi were also invited to liven up the atmosphere.

They’ve also engaged the V.I. Police Department to get permits to close off the street for the event.

Adding an extra element of fun, there is also a new slogan.

“This is the sixth year. We’re changing the theme this year from “Save Second Base” to “Save the Coconuts,” because it’s more local,” Ramsey said of the event’s new theme.

Between 400 and 600 guests are expected. Past block parties have raised between $20,000 and $30,000. All efforts go towards helping St. John residents meet medical crises caused by a cancer diagnosis, Ramsey and Bartolucci said.

“What we’re trying to do is raise more money, because we keep getting requests,” Bartolucci said. “Sometimes we get three to four requests a week
Other events, she said, will hopefully add revenues and enthusiasm towards that end. Light Up the Night at the Winston Wells Ballpark is scheduled for Jan. 23, 2016, followed by the 8 Tuff Miles Oppenheimer Recovery Party on Feb. 28.

Cancer survivors and everyone who love them celebrate the overnight walkathon by raising money, lighting luminaries at sunset and organizing teams of marathon walkers who occupy the track set up on the field of Winston Wells Park.

Since it originated in July 2012 the St. John Cancer Fund has helped more than two dozen residents and provided more than $90,000 in grants to help with different aspects of diagnosis, testing, cost of medications and transportation to and from St. Thomas, according to organizers.