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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Nearly 1,000 volunteers turn out for UNCP’s Relay for Life

With music blaring, flags waving and tents sprouting like mushrooms on the lawn in front of the James B. Chavis University Center, UNC Pembroke’s record-setting Relay for Life got underway Friday afternoon.

Coordination - From left: Chastity Schwarze with two of the event coordinators, Ryan Chavis and Melissa Vance

Coordination - From left: Chastity Schwarze with two of the event coordinators, Ryan Chavis and Melissa Vance

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Nearly 1,000 volunteers walked, ran and wheeled for 24 hours to raise $38,700 for the American Cancer Society. Students, faculty, staff and the community turned out to fight a disease that touches nearly every family.

“There was a lot of passion out there,” Chancellor Allen C. Meadors said. “The remarkable thing is that this was a student-driven event.

“I am very proud of them,” he said.

It was the second annual Relay for Life at UNCP. With a goal of $22,000, the organizers announced that the goal was surpassed at kick-off time.

“We smashed our goals,” said Anke Turner, event co-chair and past president of the campus Ruritan Club, which organized the event.

Bad Wheel - Angeleen Leonard signed up for Relay for Life before she hurt her ankle. She walked with the Zeta Phi Beta team

Bad Wheel - Angeleen Leonard signed up for Relay for Life before she hurt her ankle. She walked with the Zeta Phi Beta team

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Ryan Chavis was co-chair and Melissa Vance was staff chair. They worked with Dr. Stewart Thomas, a member of the School of Business faculty and faculty advisor to the event, and Linda Burney, community manager for the American Cancer Society.

“The support the University gives to this event is unprecedented,” Burney said. “It starts with the chancellor.

“The real stars are the students and the work they put into the event,” she said.

Dr. Thomas, who is also co-chair of the Scotland County Relay for Life, echoed that sentiment.

“I just pointed them in the right direction, and our students did the rest,” Dr. Thomas said. “They set their goals high and surpassed them.”

Dr. Thomas said Relay for Life is about more than money.

“All too often we measure the success of Relay for Life by the money raised because those dollars help the American Cancer Society fight for a cure through research, advocacy, education and patient services, and because it is a quantitative measure of success,” he said.

Hot wheels – Peyton Bednar, left, and Brett Fetzer don’t appear to be tired as they joined in the Relay for Life with from left, Alicia and Amanda Pynchon and Kristen Fetzer

Hot wheels – Peyton Bednar, left, and Brett Fetzer don’t appear to be tired as they joined in the Relay for Life with from left, Alicia and Amanda Pynchon and Kristen Fetzer

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“While these are very important, it is also important to thank everyone for the awareness to cancer that was raised by their participation and invitations to others to participate (which may save a life or lives), and for the celebration of life for cancer survivors at the event. To me, these are equally as important as any reason to Relay!”

Among those who required thanking were UNCP fraternities, sororities, clubs, Bookstore and Physical Plant among others who set up tents to sell food and tickets to games and give-aways to raise money.

“With the 2008 event, UNCP’s Relay for Life qualified as a stand-alone event going forward,” Burney said. “That’s the measure of the success of this year’s event.”

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