Let's go fly a kite - up to its highest height. (Christopher Beninati)
- It is easy to get carried away in all of the glitz and glamour that the Hamptons has to offer, especially on Memorial Day Weekend. Even though there were many new hot spots to visit and new restaurants to eat at, the place to be was at Coopers Beach
for the Fifth Annual Kites For A Cure
event held in Southampton on May 28 - for a fun time for a better cause. Over 1,000 people were in attendance, raising over $50,000 for lung cancer research.
The event was hosted by the group Uniting Against Lung Cancer
and sponsored by numerous local families, school districts and businesses. For the fifth year in a role the local community joined on the beach to decorate and fly their very own kite in honor of the fight against lung cancer and or in honor of someone they have lost to the deadly disease.
Executive Director of Uniting Against Lung Cancer Linda Wenger
was on hand and was taken back by her experience. "This is my first time at the event and the amount of local support is amazing. To see so many families come together for such a great cause is a wonderful thing, this is our signature event." With all of this local support, Wenger was happy that the overall goal was communicated to both locals and visitors. "So many people and businesses have been grateful in donating time and money to the cause and for us getting the message out there about the disease in this capacity means everything." Wenger has a very impressive background in marketing and non-profit management and will lead a new era of achievement in research funding. Uniting Against Lung Cancer has raised over $3 million in the past 12 months. In the past eight years, the foundation has funded over $7 million in research grants.
Attendees check in at Coopers Beach. Christopher Beninati)
Walking around the sand and looking around at the families bonding by coloring in and flying their own kite or grown men reminiscing about their youthful kite-flying days it was easy to forget about the devastating affects lung cancer has on everyone. Lung cancer is the number one killing cancer in the world and that is why Tess Wachs
serves as one of the Board of Directors. "This is our kick-off event for all of those we have lost to lung cancer and making more people aware of it is our main goal" said Wachs who was filled with passion. "Everybody knows a loved one, friend, or relative that was affected by lung cancer so that is why this event is so great."
She also recalls the embracing and caring attitude of the Southampton community when she and her associates had pitched the idea to the town and Mayor Mark Epley
. "Everyone including Mayor Epley jumped up and said that this idea was something special and that we had to do it! The community and the local sponsors are really what drives this event forward and makes it possible to begin with."
For Wachs, her main focus by bringing the event back each year is to install the education behind the horrors of lung cancer and to spread the word that we should celebrate the lives that were lost. "Everybody is affected by cancer and it is important to get the facts out there but in a fun and not so dark way."
While the music played on the beach by WEHM
and with Tate's Cookies being passed around, along with hundreds of families having fun, it was evident that the event was a true success.
All ages made the scene to remember loved ones. (Christopher Beninati)