Albion hosted its third annual Relay For Life at the Dow earlier this month. The event lasted 12 hours, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and helped to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Brittany Lisjak, a Rochester Hills senior and an organizer for the event described it as “a huge celebration!” Students create relay teams from multiple student organizations or as independent groups, and at least one member walks the track inside the Dow at all times.
Lisjak stated that the rigorous and non-stop commitment to walking the track stems from the idea that “cancer never sleeps, so neither do we.”
Each team additionally holds individual fundraisers throughout the evening such as a bake sale run by the Albion Women’s softball team.
“[Relay] is our community event for softball, we wanted to pick something we’re really passionate about,” said Sarah Bucholz, Chelsea first-year. “We feel it goes towards a good cause.”
A total 104 registered participants took part in this year’s relay, but the open event had no entrance fee for other people arriving the day of. “You do not have to be a registered team member to get involved in the event,” Lisjak said. “We welcome all of campus to come.”
Aside from the relay activities themselves, Relay For Life included performances by Euphonics and the dance team, a Luminaria Ceremony to honor and remember those who have faced cancer, as well as a survivor’s dinner to honor and treat both cancer survivors and attendees.
“The survivor’s dinner is such a special thing,” Lisjak said. “It allows them to share their personal stories and create a unique bond.
Albion alumnus Lacie Carter was a senior when she originally brought Relay For Life to the campus in the spring of 2011, and according to Lisjak, the event and its participation has only grown since then. “Lacie and all of the past and present committee members know how common and heart-breaking cancer is,” she said.
Registration and organization for Relay For Life begins at the beginning of the semester when the current committee starts finding students interested in forming a relay team, as well as organizing smaller, team-based fundraisers that last up until the event itself.
“This is my second year starting a Relay For Life team,” said Alexa Hyman, Chicago sophomore. “I don’t have any close family ties to cancer but I feel like you don’t need a ‘good reason’ to do something like this. It makes me feel very fulfilled to help out.”
This year’s event raised a total of $12,598.98, an increase from both previous years.
“Our goal is not only to raise [money] and awareness, but to unite our campus in this cause,” Lisjak said. “Everyone has their story, and everyone can have a part.”