Written by Madalyn Chapman
RC students and members of the community will be participating in a Relay for Life event this Saturday, April 7. Relay for Life is a fundraising event that was started by the American Cancer Society, and quickly became their most successful fundraiser.
The idea for this event was brought to life in 1985 by Dr. Gordon Klatt, who battled stomach cancer. He walked and ran around the track at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington for 24 straight hours. He walked and ran 83.6 miles and raised over 27,000 dollars. After fighting to make it a bigger event, the next year, nineteen teams came together for the first ever Relay For Life.
The first part of a standard Relay for Life event is the opening ceremony, in which everyone is welcomed. Then, there is a “Survivor Lap,” in which those who have been or are currently affected by cancer will walk around the track. This is closely followed by the “Caregiver Lap,” in which those who gave support to friends or loved ones during their struggle with cancer will walk. After this, everyone is welcome to walk as much as they like. One member of each team is expected to be on the track at all times, symbolizing that the fight against cancer never stops.
While not walking, participants are encouraged to spend time at the booths set up by various teams, engage in conversation and have a good time. After sunset, there will be a Luminaria ceremony. The lighting of these Luminarias is done in remembrance of those who passed due to cancer, as well as those who survived and those who are still fighting. The next day, the Closing Ceremonies will wrap up the event.
Participants can a join a team and work together to operate a booth and earn money, or come in support of those teams and simply walk. All proceeds go directly to the American Cancer Society.
For those who are interested in participating, Relay for Life at Roanoke College will be taking place on the Back Quad starting at noon on April 7 and ending at midnight.