Relay for Life: Decade for a Cure
By Linda Braus
Carroll University’s Relay for Life event is coming up on April 11-12, from 4pm-4am. Relay for Life is an annual fundraising event by the American Cancer Society put on in various communities across the country, including colleges and towns. Relay for Life is positive in the face of cancer, with fun going on throughout the night, such as games and performances. This year’s Relay for Life at Carroll is Dr. Seuss themed and will feature numerous games and activities including a performance by the Funny Bone Mafia improv group. Throughout the night, there are three events, which every Relay for Life includes, to acknowledge and honor those whose lives have been touched by cancer. This begins with a “Survivor’s Lap” where survivors of cancer walk the track and their winning battles against cancer are celebrated. There is also a “Luminaria Ceremony” where those who may have lost their battle are commemorated. Finally, every Relay for Life features a “Fight Back Ceremony” in which participants make personal commitments to fight against cancer in individual ways such as acting to increase awareness.
This year will be the 10 year that Carroll has held a Relay for Life event and it has met great success in the past. According to Christine Hazel, Senior Manager for the Midwest Division of Relay for Life, last year $22,839.67 was raised by 34 teams and 380 participants. “I would say that Relay For Life is an amazing opportunity for students, faculty and staff to all come together for one common purpose – to truly make a difference in the fight against cancer. The Carroll University Colleges Against Cancer Chapter (which plans and executes Relay For Life) has grown tremendously under the leadership of Katie Brito and Nicole Schuch.” said Hazel.
Carroll students who have participated in the event previously are testimony to its importance. Erica Robinson, junior at Carroll, spoke about the significance of Relay for Life. “Most of our campus has been affected by cancer in some way. Almost everyone can think of someone whether it’s a family member, friend, co-worker who currently has cancer, survived cancer, or passed away from cancer. We’ve all been touched by cancer and Relay for Life gives us a night to celebrate those who have survived cancer, honor those who didn’t, and fight with those currently suffering,” stated Robinson.
Nicole Schuch, junior at Carroll and president of Colleges Against Cancer (CAC), emphasized the reach and relevance of Relay for Life. “Relay for Life is a fun exciting event that has a purpose that is larger than any one person. Cancer does not care who you are, how old you are, how much money you have, or what your plans for the future are. Unfortunately, many of us have been affected by cancer directly or indirectly, so why not be a part of the movement to end cancer?” said Schuch.
Like most students at Carroll, Robinson has a personal reason to participate in Relay for Life. “My aunt passed away during my freshman year from brain cancer and that was a hard time for me, but I was able to honor her and heal because of Relay for Life,” she explained.
Robinson continued to explain why students should consider attending Relay for Life if they have not already. “Staying up until 4am (which some of us do on a weekly basis) taking a stand and fighting back to end this deadly disease by participating in this event is something that us students can actually do. We can’t donate thousands of dollars to the American Cancer Society right now, or find the cure on our own right now in college, but we can still make a difference.”
“The most rewarding part is at the end of the event when CAC announces how much money we raised for this event. My freshmen year we raised over $25,000. It’s just an awesome feeling to know that I helped raise that and we’re only college students. It just shows that we CAN make a difference,” Robinson further elaborated on the rewarding experience Relay for Life offers. She did not forget the simple fun of previous years, either, adding that “the most fun was jumping on the velcro-wall that CAC has up in the gym and sumo wrestling in the gigantic sumo suits.”
Schuch offered a different but equally power perspective on how rewarding Relay for Life is. “Being a part of the committee allows me to have a slightly different view of the event compared to a participant. For me, the most rewarding part is witnessing more than 2 semesters and countless hours of work to create this unbelievable 12 hour event.” explained Schuch.
If you are interested in learning more about Relay for Life, along with signing up to participate or donating, you can visit http://www.relayforlife.org/carrolluniversity. The event is also open to the public, not only to the Carroll community.