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The Blue & Gray Press | November 23, 2017

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Students fight against cancer

The University of Mary Washington will host its first ever Relay for Life with the help of a hard working group of students and their sponsor from the American Cancer Society.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. on April 17 and last until 6 a.m. the next day “because cancer never sleeps.” It will take place on the campus recreation fields.

Teams can have as many members as they’d like and must have at least one person on the track during the relay at all times. Currently there are 36 registered teams with a total of 156 participants, but groups may sign up until the day of the event.

Teams may register on the UMW Relay for Life Web site and are encouraged to sign up early so captains can attend bi-weekly meetings and fundraise, according to Public Relations and Marketing Chair Joe Martin, a sophomore.

Headed by sophomore Luke Ruth, the event’s planning committee consists entirely of students and an American Cancer Society sponsor. Ruth was unable to be reached for comment, but others expressed interest in this cause because of the direct impact cancer has had on their lives.

Sophomore Kelly O’Grady said she became involved in Relay for Life because “I lost someone in my immediate family to cancer 13 months ago […] if I am actively helping others to avoid going through this, then there is less time to be sad and more time to remember what’s important in life.”

There are many ways to get involved with UMW’s Relay for Life. If physical activity isn’t one of your strengths, donating money, food or other supplies to the event is encouraged. According to O’Grady, however, “the best volunteers are the team members.”

According to the website, the event has raised $4,960 so far. The money will be donated directly to the cancer society and will be used in a variety of ways.

From helping people currently battling cancer get better, to providing support and education, to funding research for a cure, every dollar earned at the event goes into the fight against cancer.

Because this is the first time UMW has held an event like this, the planning committee has hit a few small bumps along the way but is still excited and optimistic about the event.

Junior Samantha Luffy, the committee’s spirit chair, said that the work that’s gone into this event has been “overwhelming” at times, but thinks that the effort will ultimately be worth it because, “this event will show the student body and our community that fighting cancer is more than donating money—although the money is important—it’s about committing to join together to fight cancer with everything we’ve got.”

The event began with a kickoff night in November where teams could register and start fundraising. Between now and the event, there will also be individual team fundraisers that people can attend to show their support. More information about these individual events can be found on the UMW Relay for Life website.

This year the Relay is ‘80s themed, so participants should come out dressed in their favorite spandex and leg warmers and get ready to work hard for an amazing cause.