The Strength to Fight
Brother powers-up 24-hour workout event and raises thousands of dollars for his sister and other cancer patients on the Northshore
(Covington, La.) More than $272,500 has been raised since 2011 to benefit local cancer patients, thanks to 24 in 24, a fundraising event created by Shane Venezia in response to his sister, Renee Hamilton’s, breast cancer diagnosis. Today, Hamilton is a survivor of the disease, but Venezia continues the annual 24-hour CrossFit challenge raising an astounding $92,449 at this year’s June 10 fundraiser.
Venezia, a gym owner in Covington, vividly remembers receiving a harrowing phone call from his sister.
“I can tell you exactly where I was, what I was wearing. There was no warning. She just called and said they had found a lump and it was breast cancer. It destroyed me,” said Venezia.
The siblings had always been each other’s support system.
“Shane and I were always close,” said Hamilton. “And as we grew up we became very best friends. He was always my protector, and he did a pretty good job of it. But he couldn’t protect me from this.”
Overwhelmed with the need to help his sister, Venezia, a gym owner, came up with a way to get involved in his sister’s fight and 24 in 24 was born. The CrossFit challenge encompasses 24 workouts in 24 hours with athletes from throughout the region participating—some even signing up for the entire day. The workouts vary in difficulty and all are welcome to either participate, sponsor an athlete or spectate.
Even after Hamilton beat breast cancer, the success of the first 24 in 24 inspired Venezia to continue his own kind of battle.
“It’s so inspiring to see how Shane and Renee have turned one of life’s toughest challenges into something that will benefit so many people facing cancer. It demonstrates how everyone has the power to channel their passions and make a difference in their own unique way,” said Leslie Landry, director of development, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Covington.
The funds raised by 24 in 24 help provide treatment, supportive care, early detection, research and education for Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center patients. Venezia said he is most proud of how the event has come to represent a community giving back to its own members.
“I have a personal vendetta against cancer,” he said. “We’re circling the wagons and taking care of our own. When you donate to 24 in 24, the funds go directly to the community and can touch someone you know: your sister or your father…”
For information on the 2018 24 in 24 event, contact Venezia at (985) 590-7033.
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, a key provider within St. Tammany Cancer Center, is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 40 years. With five centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales, its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana. For more information, please visit www.marybird.org.