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Relay for Life sets fundraising goal at $70,000 to support cancer research

Colleges Against Cancer plans to raise $70,000 to support the American Cancer Society.

The registered student organization is hosting CMU’s annual Relay for Life event from noon to midnight Saturday, March 25 in the Central Michigan University Indoor Athletic Complex.

Grace Kozak, community manager for the American Cancer Society, said the event’s purpose is to raise awareness about cancer, to celebrate the survivors and to help people within their community utilize resources around them.

“(Relay for Life events) give people a chance to fight back,” Kozak said. “These events raise a lot of money, which goes toward funding for research, as well as providing rides for patients to their appointments.”

Relay for Life has been involved with CMU for 21 years, starting in 1996. Last year’s Relay for Life raised $55,600. This year’s event has raised more than $22,000 as of 4 p.m. Sunday with six days remaining. The goal this year is to raise $70,000. People can register online either as a solo participant or as a team by donating $10 per person.

Teams and participants work to raise money before and during the event. According to the event’s website as of 4 p.m. Sunday, the Colleges Against Cancer Committee has raised $2,951, while the CMU Cheerleading team has contributed $2,920. Taylor Fischer leads all individuals with $2,340 donated.

Rachel Sulkowski, director of production for Colleges Against Cancer, said she has attended Relay for Life for three years before she arrived at CMU. The Canton junior wanted to be a part of the organization that helps put the fundraiser on.

Different items such as food, beads and buttons will be sold at tables on the track throughout the day, Sulkowski said. The Asia Project, a spoken word group, and Central Harmony, an A Cappella group, will also perform. Activities will include games like bubble soccer.

Three ceremonies will take place during the 12 hours. The opening ceremony honors survivors at the event, while the second ceremony, Luminaria, is where people will have a chance to reflect on their experiences with cancer.

The total amount of money raised through the event will be announced during the closing ceremony.

Alyssa Hayward, president of Colleges Against Cancer, said about 35 members of her organization helped plan the event. The group also has volunteers that will help set up and tear down the event. As of right now, the event has 336 participants raising money on its online event page.

Hayward said a couple hundred people typically attend throughout the day.

“I want to go into cancer research, so I found Colleges Against Cancer at MainStage,” Hayward said. “Going into it, I could have never imagined the impact that it would have on me. I had never even been to a (Relay for Life) before I joined. Relay for Life is such a powerful event and it will always be something that is important to me.”

Kozak said she wants to provide the community with more access and information about Relay for Life events.

“These events also give the community a chance to celebrate the survivors within the community and to remember the ones they have lost,” she said.

Those with any questions about the event can email Volunteers can sign up at