On April 17 to 18, The American Cancer Society Relay For Life will give Georgetown and the surrounding area a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease. At this event, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event with the catchphrase being, “Because cancer never sleeps.” The relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length.
“The reason I’m involved and keep working is because almost every member of my family has had cancer and I really would like for a cure to be found,” said senior AJ Andreola, who serves as the Relay for Life committee chair within the student organization Colleges Against Cancer.
In 1985 Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington, ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since that time, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life has grown from a single man’s passion to fight cancer into the world’s largest movement to end the disease.
According to the American Cancer Society, “Everyone’s reason to Relay is as unique as their own personal story. At Relay, you can find healing, comfort, and support from others who have faced cancer or who have lost a loved one to the disease. You have a chance to meet people in the community who are equally as passionate about finding an end to cancer in our lifetime. You can thank all the people who have done so much to support you through your personal cancer experience. And you can gather together with friends, family, and colleagues to laugh, cry, and create lasting memories.”
Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States, along with additional communities in 20 other countries, gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer.
“Relay For Life is our big Spring event.,” said Lauren Kjolhede. “A big focus for this year has been getting campus involved and getting a good representative Southwestern groups at the event. It is a chance for Southwestern organizations and students to get involved with the Georgetown community and show our enthusiasm, energy and youth for a good cause. We always bring a different, youthful and energetic element to the event that the other participants always comment on and enjoy. Plus we have the energy to stay up all night and be loud!”
This year, several Southwestern student organizations are making teams to contribute their efforts in helping cancer victims. Not only will these organizations be fighting cancer, they will be given an opportunity to spend time together apart from their organizational causes and meet other people who will be involved with similar passions. The Christian sorority Sigma Phi Lamda, the campus service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and Colleges Against Cancer will all have teams participating for the night.
“We (CAC) have also done several fundraising events to donate to Relay For Life for our CAC team through Shakes,” Kjolhede said. “We also are having a campuswide water balloon fight next Thursday at 5:30PM out on the mall to raise funds and awareness for Relay so be on the lookout for that!”
The American Cancer Society stated, “With every step you take, you are helping the American Cancer Society save lives. With your help, we aren’t just fighting one type of cancer – we’re fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. Each person who shares the Relay experience can take pride in knowing that they are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones or claim another year of anyone’s life.”
“Almost everyone is touched by cancer in some form or another either personally or through a family member or friend and they are not alone,” said Kjolhede. “There is always hope!”
Relay For Life is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and seeks to promote awareness, raise funds and honor survivors through the all-night event. It will take place on Friday April 16th-17th at Forbes Middle School from 7PM to 7AM.