By: Cory Berlekamp
Relay for Life is coming up in March at the University of Findlay and the Colleges Against Cancer group is already gearing up to make this event their most successful one yet.
The CAC has hosted the event for the last 10 years and has made it their mission to reach goals every event. Along with reaching their goals, each year they have set the bar higher for funds reached and people in attendance. Jenn Darling, a senior at the University of Findlay and president of the CAC, was very grateful to see a rise in participation at the University’s Relay for Life event.
“It actually started out in the AMU and they walked the halls,” said Darling. “Now we are in the indoor track with over 600 participants which is awesome. It’s just amazing the support we have.”
Relay for Life started in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt wished to raise money for his local charity in Washington. Klatt did so by walking around a track, effectively raising awareness and $27,000. Since then, Relay for Life has become one of the biggest charity events in the world.
“Relay for Life symbolizes cancer does not stop so neither do we, so we try to suggest that every team has someone walking throughout the day to resemble this,” Darling said.
This year’s event is on Saturday, March 24 starting at 1 p.m. and will be held at the Koehler Fitness Center. It is an open invitation for anyone who would like to attend the event. If interested, people must register themselves or a team on the Relay for Life website.
“We invite all of the students if in their life they had someone effected by cancer,” said Darling. “Everyone can come, they just have to register a team and family, friends and kids are welcome to come.”
The event lasts around six hours and begins with a lap honoring those who have survived their battle with cancer. It ends with a ceremony and a luminaria for all those who lost their fight.
“It’s a really emotional moment seeing the survivors, they fought to walk, that is their moment to shine,” said Darling. “The luminaria is also very emotional. Each one resembles someone who fought cancer. We turn down the lights and we take a moment and reflect on our time and memories to honor those who have lost their battle, those that continue, and those that have won.”
Last year, the CAC raised $37,000 with their Relay for Life event, an increase from the $33,000 raised the previous year. The success of the group has not gone unnoticed by the American Cancer Society as this year they were awarded with the Nationwide Mission Integration Award. Their community partner, Allison Boesel, submitted their group to be recognized by the American Cancer Society.
“We put a lot of heart and sweat into this and it is really good to see our hard work paying off especially with this award,” said Darling. “We really focus on our mission moment at every meeting and we really want to share the word of awareness and prevention.”
The next Colleges Against Cancer meeting is on Jan. 17 at 4:30 p.m. in the Rosewood room. If anyone is interested in joining the group they can email Jen Darling at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the health center where they will provide information on the CAC.