Relay for Life draws 33 teams to fight cancer

4/25/2008 | By: Adrienne Goetz  |

The track around Mackay Stadium will be filled April 25, 2008, with people who share a common goal — fighting cancer.

For the fourth year in a row, the University’s faculty, staff and students are walking, running, jogging and strolling during the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event. The overnight event will begin at 6 p.m. April 25 and will end 12 hours later at 6 a.m. April 26. As in past years, activities such as karaoke are scheduled to keep those on and off the track entertained.

“I would challenge you to find anyone in the U.S. who has not been impacted by cancer,” said Jannet Vreeland, interim executive provost and vice president of the University.

The event is engaging the campus community as a new way to be more involved with the fight against cancer, to become more aware of the disease, and as a place and time to share stories.

“Being a member of this community, we need to be a part of this cause,” Vreeland said.

This year, there are 33 University teams with more than 359 participants. Included in the relay is an administrative faculty team co-led by Vreeland and Audrey Casey, assistant to the executive vice president and provost. The College of Science team is led by Ed Keppelman, associate professor of mathematics and the coordinator of science outreach for kindergarten to 12th-grade students.

“I want to help the college and enhance the outreach that we do,” Keppelman said. “It’s important to the University.”

For others, like Vreeland and Elaine Casey, also a member of the administrative team, the relay is personal because they are walking for those who have survived, and for those who have died.

“I spent a year battling cancer 12 years ago,” Vreeland said. “I’m a cancer survivor.”

Vreeland will be remembering her fight with the disease as well as honoring her brother and best friend who were taken by cancer.

“I’m participating because my father is a cancer survivor,” Casey said.

The 33 teams are not only in a race against cancer, but also in a friendly competition to see which group can raise the most money, collected through registration fees and donations. The American Cancer Society set a goal to raise $30,000 during the relay. Many of the University teams set a goal of raising $1,000 and several have met or even exceeded this goal. As of April 24, “Circle K,” an international collegiate service organization associated with Kiwanis International that promotes service, leadership and fellowship, was leading with an estimated total of more than $2,800 raised. The College of Liberal Arts team was second with an estimated total of more than $2,600.

“Outside of the federal government, the American Cancer Society is the largest funder of cancer research,” Vreeland said. “The money they raise in these kinds of events really does help research.”

For those who have participated before and those who are on the Mackay track for the first time, the Relay for Life continues its legacy as an event bringing tears, laughter and healing to all who attend.


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