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Relay for Life Kickoff releases theme for March event

A giant yellow birthday cake hung against the wall.  Round tables were adorned with centerpieces wrapped in "Happy Birthday" wrapping paper.  

These clues gave it away that the theme of Relay for Life this year would be "Birthday Party for a Cure". 

The Relay for Life Kickoff event, sponsored by Colleges Against Cancer at Central Michigan University, took place Thursday at the Bovee University Center Rotunda.

Alyssa Hayward, president of Colleges Against Cancer at CMU, began the event by introducing the two dozen members of the registered student organization. 

Last year, 75 teams took part in Relay for Life — the goal this year is 100.  The event raised $55,000 last year and this year's goal is $70,000.  

"Every team that signs up gets to do their own individual fundraiser," Hayward said. "People walk around the track and get to participate in all the fundraisers. The only thing that the American Cancer Society has to pay for is the labor to set up the indoor athletic center for the event, she said, all of the entertainment is donated.

Free chocolate and vanilla ice cream was given out, with several choices for toppings including fudge, caramel, sprinkles, cherries and strawberries.  The lines were consistently being replenished with new dessert seekers.

Tables were spaced around the back of the room to give fundraising tips and information about Relay for Life.  A table at the front registered new teams.

Central Harmony, the only co-ed a cappella group on campus, performed at 8 p.m.  The group performed three songs and captured the attention of the audience by dancing and singing.

Corey Parrett, freshman and cancer survivor, delivered a speech about his experience with cancer and thanked those that participate in Relay for Life, his family and friends.

A luminaria ceremony was held at the end of the event.  Relay participants wrote who they relay for on a piece of paper, then the lights were turned off in the room.  The audience turned on their cell phone flashlights and held them high in the air as who they relay for, friends, families and all those with cancer appeared on the screen at the front of the room. By the end the room was filled with light.

The Relay for Life event will take place from noon to midnight on March 25 at the Indoor Athletic Complex.