The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa (SHRT) is proud to be the Pink Premier Sponsor for the second year in a row with Making Strides against Breast Cancer here in Hillsborough County.
Dedicated to the fight against breast cancer, SHRT’s partnership with the American Cancer Society has been extremely valuable to our employees and guests, along with friends and families of our participants.
SHRT’s team captain Cyndi Elliot has been a true driving force behind rallying team members and members of the Tampa Bay community. Last year she helped SHRT raise a total of $87,176 for the Pinktober® campaign last year. That total far exceeded the $65,000 raised in 2012. SHRT was the second-highest fund-raising team out of 468 teams last year collecting $18,775.
This Saturday, October 18 the property will walk with their team “The Rockin’ Walkstars” to raise even more awareness and funds for the cause.
We sat down with Cyndi to ask her about her experience with the annual walk:
Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I consider myself a Tampa native. I’ve lived here for 23 years and I’ve worked on the property for nine years. Throughout those nine years, I’ve been our team leader for American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, but I’ve walked for a total of 11 years.
I’m an amateur photographer, a mother of three and I love crafts. All of my children have been incorporated into the walk. My middle child, my son, was born in January, so that October before he was born I walked in Brooklyn, Orlando and Tampa. I literally went to a walk every weekend because I was a bra ambassador for the American Cancer Society. I wore my pink bra and walked all over.
It was probably one of the coolest Octobers I’ve ever had because I had family members in each city who joined me. I’m also a Twitteraholic.
What do you do for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa?
I’m a training specialist. My main responsibility is on boarding team members. We rally at the orientations and find creative ways to teach our initiatives and training goals to provide the best guest service. I’m also a segway between the human resources team and the department leadership and more recently I’ve assisted in creating a department training program to collaborate with other team member management trainees so we’re able to provide the best service possible.
What is your role in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk?
I’m the team captain for Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa. As I mentioned, I’ve worked here for nine years and have been a captain ever since.
Why did you start walking and how did you get involved?
Originally, I started walking because my friends were doing it. It was just kind of a girl thing where a whole bunch of people where I worked walked together. Then it became a thing where we walked with our kids and we all started walking with our families. It was a moment for us to get together and it was really fun!
Then I started at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and a group of us got together from various departments and created our very own team. All of a sudden it grew and we all got together for this event to make a difference and now we’re one of the largest teams at the walk. It’s one of the biggest philanthropic efforts that we do.
In 2011, we started to make it on the leader board and that’s when it started to matter for me. That’s also the year that my step mother-in-law was re-diagnosed with breast cancer. She had been five years clean of cancer and had a double mastectomy, but then they suddenly found it in her liver and discovered it had traveled to her colon and lungs. She sadly ended up passing away, which really hit home for me. It wasn’t until those last few weeks in January that really put me into another gear.
What is the most rewarding part about participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk?
Knowing that this organization is helping people is extremely rewarding. There are a lot of survivor teams that lead the charge in the walk, so getting to meet those survivors and becoming friends with them is really rewarding.
What is your biggest goal for SHRT and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk?
Every year it’s something different and it gets more difficult as time goes on. Eventually I would like to be able to look at the leader board and say we’ve hit $20,000. We’ve gotten pretty close to that a few times, but it takes a lot of effort and time.
How do you get people engaged and involved with the team?
It starts with being enthusiastic. We do a lot on property to get the team members excited, but the truth is you can’t expect people to follow you if you don’t believe in it. I really believe in what they’re doing at the American Cancer Society and I know that they make a difference.
Tell us something unique about your experience?
I was a Pink Bra Ambassador in 2012 and it was the year I was getting married. I was picked to be in a commercial. I actually went to audition in the middle of my wedding planning and they selected me!
My honeymoon ended the day before filming, so my husband and I drove to Key West. I was literally decorating my bra in the front seat, hot gluing gunning and putting glitter all over it and when I got there they were really nice and took pictures of me, but ended up putting me in one of their own bras (laughs). My line was “What’s Your Size.”
What’s your favorite city you’ve walked in for the American Cancer Society Making Strides?
I love the walk here in Tampa. I really think ours is the best as far as atmosphere goes.
What’s this year’s theme for the Rockin’ Walk Stars?
Sparkle and shine!
To sign up to walk with The Rockin’ Walkstars click here.