Last weekend was about supporting cancer survivors, remembering loved ones and battling against the elusive disease, as both Mercer and Wesleyan held their Relay for Life events.
Mercer hosted its Relay for Life April 5 on the intramural courts in the University Center from 6-11 p.m.
Different Mercer organizations set up tables or areas for their activities, which included the Relay for Life committee’s photo booth and KA’s water pong table. The Phi Mu table provided a tie-dye station; Delta Sigma Pi had a cookie decoration booth; and Alpha Phi Omega named their table “Beads and Beef,” where customers could make nachos, tacos, and jewelry.
Mercer alumni Brian Apling was the designated speaker, sharing the story of his wife, Catherine, also a Mercer alumna and a survivor of breast cancer. She celebrated five years cancer-free this year. Apling told the crowd how the cancer affects their family and why it is important to support the American Cancer Society. He emphasized how important the caregiver role is while battling cancer.
Relay for Life is a very important event to the Aplings for several reasons, especially because Brian proposed to Catherine at the first Relay she celebrated cancer-free.
After Apling finished speaking, Relay volunteers participated in a luminary ceremony, writing down cancer patients they wanted to honor or remember. When the crowd was asked if they had family or friends affected by cancer, every single participant stood up.
Relay committee member and Phi Mu team member, Molly Anderson explained why Relay is important to so many on a college campus.
“It connects us to community and other schools and gets us involved in things other than Mercer-related events,” said Anderson.
Mercer Law team member, Minerva Steele, had a similar opinion about the importance of Relay, saying, “[Relay for Life] brings attention to a problem by people who might not know about it already – people with enough energy and time to help.”
Mercer’s Relay volunteers concluded the night learning a group dance and participating in line dances.
So far, Mercer’s Relay for Life has raised $3,300.
Wesleyan’s Relay for Life event also drew a crowd on Friday, April 5 to raise money for cancer research through the American Cancer Society.
Attendees enjoyed face painting, henna tattoos, ice cream bars, sand art and a moon bounce. Wesleyan also sold t-shirts to further contribute to the money they raised for Relay for Life.
The event was originally scheduled to take places outdoors on Wesleyan’s quad, but due to the chilly temperatures it was moved to the dining hall.
The change in location did not subdue the excitement in the air, however, as attendees and volunteers gathered for this event. Smiling faces filled the crowd with the knowledge that their temporary fun would bring long-lasting help to those affected by cancer.
Everyone at Relay has a story. Each participant has been affected by cancer in one way or another. Some come to honor survivors, some come to remember lost loved ones and others come to celebrate as a survivor.
Relay volunteer and Wesleyan student Blaire Bagwell relays in honor of her grandfather who is battling cancer for the second time.
“He is such a genuinely sweet and caring individual, and has impacted my life in every capacity,” said Bagwell. “Meeting him, you would have no idea he has anything to worry about. I strive to live life as he does, and thank God for placing such remarkable role model in my life.”
Relay for Life events mean so much to so many people because this organization is truly making a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.
Bibb County will be hosting their all night Relay for Life event on May 13 at Al Sihah Shrine Park.
During these events, participants walk around a track to honor others or to celebrate their own triumph over cancer. They will also light luminaries with the names of their loved ones written on them.
Relay for Life raises money for the American Cancer Society. And the Relay does even more than fundraising, its events, held nationwide, give people closure, a way to give back and most importantly hope for the future.
The American Cancer Society works “to save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.” That includes informing people about cancer, helping current patients and conducting cancer research in order to find a cure.
Relay for Life is a large part of supporting the American Cancer Society. Relay for Life events are now held in 21 countries, and have raised nearly $3 billion to date.