Coconut Relay Fundraiser
Coconut Relay Benefits Cancer Center
Jason Stephens and his fiancé decided that instead of holding bachelor and bachelorette parties before their wedding in February 2011, they would sponsor a fundraiser to benefit the John A. DeQuattro Cancer Center in memory of Jason’s father, Dr. Ronald W. Stephens. Living in Hawaii where competition on the beach is very popular, they decided to hold a relay and ask for donations instead of wedding gifts.
Jason, his brothers Jon and Joe, and his sister Jeni Minicucci grew up in Bolton where their mother Barbara still lives in the family home. Jack DeQuattro and Ron Stephens were close friends and translated that into a close relationship between their families, sharing vacations, holidays and many other memories over the years. These two close friends also passed away from the same terrible disease – pancreatic cancer.
Jason and his wife both enjoy fitness activities, so the idea of creating the relay with physically demanding events was fun for them. Their wedding guests, including Jason’s siblings and their families from Connecticut, were invited to participate along with the people enjoying the beach that day. Seven teams of five or six competed. There were rules for each event, including the carrying of the team’s coconut throughout. Shenanigans were encouraged, so stealing the opposing team’s coconut was the order of the day, which had to be retrieved before the team could move on in the competition. The list of events in the relay included beer stops for the adults, but the kids had to eat three spears of broccoli instead! One event, called the sugar cookie, involved getting wet and then rolling in the sand. Jeni created trophies by carving “RWS 1st place” with each winning team member’s name into purchased coconuts that resembled monkeys.
The response to the event was so enthusiastic that Jason has decided to hold this event annually to honor his dad and benefit the DeQuattro Cancer Center.