Student relay raises funds to fight cancer

” On Friday April 17 at 6:00 p.m. the annual Relay for Life Event kicked off on the track at Lee Jackson Field. Nine hundred twenty two people registered to participate in the fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and over 1,000 people showed up for this year’s event.”

On Friday April 17 at 6:00 p.m. the annual Relay for Life Event kicked off on the track at Lee Jackson Field.

Nine hundred twenty two people registered to participate in the fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and over 1,000 people showed up for this year’s event.

This was a great turn out, it looked as if we had double the turn out from last year, Jennifer Callahan, Staff Partner for the American Cancer Society said.

This year’s Relay for Life Event raised $35, 925 and more money is still coming in.

Increased attendance brought out an additional 23 teams including Greek sorority and fraternities, Residence Halls such as Quaker Square, Spanton, Sisler-McFawn, ZPN and the AK Rowdies.

Each team consisted of at least eight, and at least one team member had to be walking on the track at all times covering the eighteen-hour event.

Callahan believes Relay for Life is an important event.

If we didn’t have it, we couldn’t provide research and funding for programs through the American Cancer Society. Although there are other events such as golf outings that raise money for cancer research, Relay for Life is by far the largest money-raising event.

One powerful activity that was held during the night was a Luminaria Service. White bags with candles were for sale in memory or honor of a loved one that has been affected by cancer.

The word HOPE was spelled out across Lee Jackson Field and a poem was read during the service. Callahan recalls, It was a very powerful moment because out of the 900 people who were there, 3 out of 4 individuals were touched by cancer in one way or another.

Callahan believes that people choose to participate in Relay because it is a fun event for a good cause that has a lot of activities going on at all times. We had dodge ball, relay games, a wing eating contest, a movie in the middle of the night, two bands and a Family Feud game held by ZPN. It is a fun way to raise money, Callahan said.

Samantha Bombeck is one student who participated in Relay. She was a member of the Honors Nursing Group who had 12 members on their team.

I decided to do relay because it’s for a really great cause. I have been affected by cancer, just like almost everyone else, Bombeck said. I wanted to raise money and be a part of something great to help fight the disease.

Her favorite part of the entire event was the Luminaria Ceremony.

It was the most serious part and was really, really powerful to see everyone get up and break his or her glow sticks. It just showed how everyone has been affected, and then to walk in silence. It showed why we were there all together.

Bombeck also adds that the themed laps, getting dressed up and hanging out with friends, eating the snacks and donating to other teams were also fun.

She says, I think the whole relay was really well put together, and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Standard Jig, one of the groups who participated, played a big role by raising $5,000. The Accounting Association, which included professors and students in accounting, were very active. The nursing organization was also extremely helpful, says Callahan.

Callahan believes it is important to note that Akron C.A.R.E.S. is the main organizer of the Relay for Life Event. She also states, We have had huge support from the University as well the athletic department.