Relay for Life preview

On March 24, CNU will host its annual Relay for Life event at 7 p.m. in the Freeman Field House. The event will act as a fundraiser towards Colleges Against Cancer, with a goal of raising $56,000. CNU’s Colleges Against Cancer club is a part of the event’s dedicated leadership team. 

As a Recruitment Lead for Colleges Against Cancer, sophomore Christina Lowery is heavily involved with Relay for Life and hopes that there will be strong dedication to the event this year. Lowery aims to have a member from each team walking the track at all times. Additionally, she would like as many people as possible to stay for the entire 12 hours of Relay.

Several aspects of the event will remain the same as last year. “Similar to previous years, we will be having fundraising games and various groups performing different forms of entertainment throughout the night to keep people awake and pumped for the cause,” said Lowery.

However, this year’s Relay aims to be more proactive than previous ones. This mainly involves encouraging everyone who is interested in Relay for Life to sign up before the night of the event. If someone is interested in creating a team, that must be done by at least a day before Relay so that they can be given a campsite. Individuals can register up until the event starts.  

“Our theme this year is ‘Re-Lei for Life,’ so we encourage participants and teams to embrace the tropical theme,” said Lowery.

Senior and Relay Survivorship Lead, Emily Taylor has also been heavily involved with the event. “This being my third year attending this event, I always hope that it raises awareness, even though everyone knows how terrible cancer is,” Taylor said. “Seeing the luminaries and the survivors in person is moving, and it shows that cancer comes in all shapes, sizes and types.”

Taylor’s role as Survivorship Lead allows her to bring a variety of cancer survivors and people with ties to the disease together. “My main goal is to bring survivors, fighters and caregivers together to celebrate the battle that they have been through,” she said, “and, if they are still fighting, to show hope through other survivors.”

This year’s Relay for Life event will be similar to past years, but the organization’s fundraising goal has been raised and those involved, including Lowery and Taylor, are hoping for the best turnout yet. 

In Taylor’s view, students can benefit from joining Relay for Life and having deeper involvement in it. Her involvement stems from personal experiences of people in her life. “I decided to get involved in Relay because some of the people who are closest to me have been dramatically effected by cancer,” she said. “It flipped their lives upside down, and their lives don’t just go back to normal once the cancer is gone. It’s a journey.”

McKenna Seeley, a senior and the President of CNU’s Colleges Against Cancer Club, believes that in addition to fundraising, the club aims to raise awareness about different struggles that cancer presents. “It is so much more than just diagnoses and a cure,” she said. “There are caretakers, hospital visits, countless doctor visits and many loved ones involved in this battle.”

In addition to campsites for each team and a concession stand, there will be a wide range of activities available for people to participate in at the Relay. Buffalo Wild Wings will be there with their ‘Blazin’ Wing Challenge.’ There will be an obstacle course, various scavenger hunts and a tally of which teams can stay at Relay for all 12 hours. There will also be a Mr. Relay Pageant, where male volunteers will compete to see who can look better in a dress.

In addition to the entertainment aspects of the Relay, there will be more cancer-centric events. “Most importantly, we will have our Survivorship dinner prior to the cherished ‘Survivor Lap’ which will kick off the 2017 Relay for Life,” Seeley said. “We’ll also be having our Luminaria ceremony at midnight this year, which highlights a Caretaker’s perspective of a loved one battling cancer.”

Overall, Seeley hopes that the Relay will give the CNU community a better understanding of the connection everyone has with one another. “Even though cancer is not a constant in all of our lives, we all know someone who has battled this terrible disease,” she said. “Relay helps truly put into perspective the amazingly positive impacts we can all have on one another if we remember no one fights alone.”

To join this upcoming Relay for Life, CNU students can sign up as a team or individual at  www.relayforlife.org/cnuva. Participants must make an account and pay a $10 registration fee, which will be donated to the American Cancer Society.