Colleges Against Cancer hosts Relay for Life to benefit American Cancer Society

By Izzy Schellenger || Staff Writer 

On Friday, April 1, F&M’s Colleges Against Cancer held the annual, internationally known event, Relay for Life.

The purpose of this event is to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society, which is a community and volunteer-based health organization that focuses on helping people with cancer and works toward finding a cure.

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The American Cancer Society provides transportation to families and to patients fighting cancer, as well as conducts cancer research in the hope of creating a world without cancer. All of the donations collected during Relay for Life are given to the American Cancer Society.

Relay for Life is a fundraisig event that can last for up to 24 hours. Team members camp out around a track with the aim of walking for 24 hours straight. This event is held overnight because it symbolizes the sun setting and rising and how that relates to a cancer patient’s journey. When the sun sets, this symbolizes a cancer patient’s diagnosis because they are going through a dark time in their life. When the sun rises, this represents the light at the end of their tunnel. The sun rises to millions of people in over 20 countries who are walking together in support and in honor of those who are fighting, those who have survived, those who have devoted their time towards being caretakers, and those who have lost their lives to cancer.

F&M’s Colleges Against Cancer organized a luau-themed event that included events such as the Survivor’s Lap, the Luminaria Ceremony, limbo, basketball games, musical chairs, a live DJ, and an A-Capella concert.

The Survivor’s Lap consisted of cancer survivors walking around the track in the ASFC to the sounds of applause and cheering from the many supporters who attended the event.

Volunteers also gathered together to donate at least eight inches of their hair to Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths program, an organization that has partnered with the American Cancer Society, which uses this donated hair to create wigs for women fighting cancer.

The Luminaria Ceremony, the more emotional and reflective part of the event, featured speaker Kristian Frank, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in June 2011 and Melanoma in 2014. He spoke about his painful journey with cancer and how he has seen the disease affect many of his loved ones.

In the weeks leading up to the event, members of the committee were stationed in the College Center where people could come and design a Luminary (a small paper bag) in honor or support of someone in their life who has been affected by cancer. During the event, these Luminaries were illuminated with glow sticks and were placed in a circle around the track. The volunteers then walked a lap around the track in silence, as a way to reflect on all the lives that have been touched by cancer.

“The Luminaria Ceremony is particularly special to me because I think that it serves an important reminder of why we all relay and gives us a moment to reflect on our experiences with cancer,” said Danielle Moloney ’18, a member of Colleges Against Cancer and a member of the Luminary Committee.

Sophomore Izzy Schellenger is a staff writer. Her email is ischelle@fandm.edu

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