Relay for Life brings out 1,200; raises $61,000 for cancer research
Cancer is a disease that plagues families across the nation.
Cures are limited, but research is working toward bettering the lives of the millions of people worldwide suffering from the illness.
Students, faculty and community members gathered in the Indoor Athletic Center for a 24-hour-long event over the weekend to help raise money to support cancer research and a cure.
The fundraising goal of $50,000 was met easily, having raised $48,886 before the event even began on Saturday morning. By the end of the event, through continued sales and fundraising done by the teams in attendance, $61,000 had been raised. Merrill Hall Council made the largest donation of $1,700, followed by Larzelere Hall. Seventy-three registered teams with 840 participants were expected and more than 1,200 people ended up filtering in throughout the 24 hours.
Dearborn freshman Mary Menter said she Relays for three people in her life who have all suffered from various medical conditions, and it feels good to be part of such a positive event.
“It’s a way for a lot of people, in a mental or psychological way, to know that they’re not alone and that there is always support. It brings the community together for a great cause,” Menter said.
Bad Axe junior Nick Varner said he has had family members affected by the disease and that finding a cure is important.
“I love going to Relay, because everyone is so pumped up,” Varner said. “Everyone likes to see that the money is going to a good cause, and people keep going even if they’ve been up for 24 hours.”
The event kicked off at 11 a.m. on Saturday with University President George Ross leading the first lap, followed by a survivor ceremony to honor the survivors of cancer for a lap. Later in the night, there was a luminaria ceremony to honor the many lives lost to the disease.
Various activities kept participants awake and excited, including musical performances from On the Rox and Fish n’ Chips. There was also a punt, pass and kick contest, Fear Factor and a drag talent contest called Mrs. Relay.
Varner, who dressed up and played harmonica for the Mrs. Relay contest, said these activities were a fun way to break things up throughout the night.
“It’s very serious subject matter, so it’s good to have a bit of humor in there to lighten the mood,” he said.
Rockford freshman Bethany Hicks said she was pleasantly surprised by the huge turnout.
“A lot of times you walk around campus and wonder how many people actually care or think about these things,” Hicks said. “You find out it’s a lot. There’s a really great community here to be a part of.”
Vice Event Chairwoman Brianna Reuter, an Orion senior, said she was impressed with how much was raised over just the course of the 24-hour event and that it was great to see such a large and diverse group in attendance.
“(Relay is great because) people can be better involved with things happening around campus and learn a lot about different people,” the Clarkston senior said. “Hearing the stories of everyone is great and really helps you grow closer to other people. It’s also a learning experience for all the different RSOs around campus to see what they’re all about and why they come out.”
With such a great turnout, many are already looking forward to attending next year’s event and continuing the efforts.
“It’s a great time and a great cause, and it’s really a shame if you missed out,” Varner said.
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