Relay for Life emotional for many
By Samantha Langley
Asst. Around the Town Editor
April 19, 2012
|Photo by Hillary Akers
|Cancer survivors participate in the survivor's lap during Relay for Life on April 13. The 24-hour campus-wide event, and earlier events, raised almost $30,000 for cancer research.
Relay for Life events on campus have raised almost $30,000 for cancer research so far. The main 24-hour event went from 12 p.m. April 13 through 12 p.m. April 14.
The opening ceremony began at 6 p.m. with three laps. In the survivors' lap, cancer survivors from the campus and community celebrated their lives by walking the track. The second lap was the caregivers' lap, where those who have been care givers for cancer patients walked. The final lap was for everyone.
Rivers Malcolm was the honorary chair of the event. Rivers is the 3-year-old son of UNCP's General Counsel Joshua Malcolm.
Rivers has been fighting a Wilm's tumor, a tumorous cancer that develops in the kidney, since September 2010. He has already had many surgeries and bouts of chemotherapy to combat this problem.
During the survivor's lap, he raced his bike with another survivor in a motorized wheelchair. Three days later, on April 16, he had to face another five days of chemotherapy.
The opening ceremony was an emotional event for many people, including Zeta Tau Alpha member Jenny Foust, whose aunt is receiving treatment for breast cancer. The event reminded Foust of the hardships her family has suffered because of the disease.
"When going through something like this, having a good support system is so important. My sisters have really been my support," Foust said tearfully, as members of her sorority comforted her.
The opening ceremony was followed by a chariot race hosted by the Greek organizations and the luminary event.
The luminary event let people honor their loved ones who fought against cancer. Erika Garner, student chair of the event, led all participants in a silent walk around the track with paper bags lit with candles.
"This is the first time I have heard this walk to be so silent," Garner said as she thanked everyone for being so respectful of those wuth cancer
After the ceremony ended, people began to visit the different booths. The theme for this year's Relay was "Friday the 13th" and the booths had a scary theme to them.
Phi Mu Alpha chose zombies as its theme. Members dressed as zombies would stalk someone for a dollar, and to get rid of the stalker also cost a dollar. Phi Mu Alpha member Chris Welch came up with the fundraising idea.
"I don't know where the idea came from. It just sort of came to me, and it seemed like a good idea because we're trying to get a cure for cancer," Welch said.
The psychology club offered manicures, pedicures, face paintings, chicken kabobs and other items and services.
"We enjoy participating every year because it's one of the few events that gets the campus together every year. It's easy not to get to know people outside of your own major, but Relay for Life brings everyone together for a good cause," said Miranda Birchard, psychology club president.
Line dancing songs blasted through the speakers and games were played throughout the UC Lawn.
The Greek system also organized a "zombie walk" featuring those dressed in zombie costumes walking as zombies over the track and performing the dance for "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. For entertainment, members of different fraternities and sororities sang show tunes, such as songs from the movies "Grease" and "Hairspray."
While the point of Relay for Life is stay up all night because "cancer never sleeps," many people brought out tents to sleep in during the night. Some people slept on the couches in the University Center. Despite 40 degree temperatures, many people stayed awake.
At noon the next day, Garner gave out awards in the closing ceremony to groups for excellence.
|Photo by Hillary Akers
|Members of the Theta Xi fraternity allow people to smash away cancer on an old car during Relay for Life.
Garner challenged each participant to try and save one life during the next year by getting tested themselves or persuading others to get tested for cancer. A final lap was taken to the song "Eye of the Tiger." Each participant was asked to think about ways to help those with cancer and what they can do to help the fight against cancer.
- Most Funds Raised During the Event: UNCP Alumni Association, who sold food throughout the event.
- Best Campsite: The UNCP nursing department with their theme from the movie "Deliverance."
- Best Banner: UNCP Bookstore with a Scooby Doo themed banner.
- Best Spirit: Phi Mu Alpha and Sigma Alpha Iota, who shared a campsite.
Garner said that while the university did not reach the $42,000 goal that she originally set, she is proud of everyone who participated. UNCP raised more money than UNC Greensboro and UNC Charlotte, who also had Relay for Life events at the same time.
Garner said there is still more that people can do.
"It's not all about donating money. Instead, donating your time to go be with people at a hospital or cancer treatment center can make a huge difference. I often see people with four or five family members around them that are going through treatment, and then on the other side of the room will be someone without a support group. Having support in a situation of this type can mean the difference of fighting and living or losing the hope to win," Garner said.
Money for Relay for Life can be donated up until Aug. 31 at UNCP Relay for Life site: http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=41389