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The Blue & Gray Press | December 17, 2017

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Relay for Life hosts third annual 5K on Ball Circle to raise funds and awareness

BY SAVANNAH LACY

The University of Mary Washington’s Relay for Life club hosted the third annual Fight Back 5k on Saturday, Nov. 9 to help fundraise for the American Cancer Society.

The event was created in 2011 to assist in funding for the American Cancer Society, an organization that helps with research for cures and treatment for cancer patients, as well as for general patient services. In turn, the event is sponsored and supported by numerous groups, both within and outside the university.

Runners and spectators gathered at Ball Circle on the chilly Saturday morning for the event that helps raise money, honor cancer survivors, promote how individuals can reduce their cancer risk and raise money to help end cancer, according to the American Cancer Society website.

The UMW planning committee and student activites donated tables, chairs and pavilions for staff members to set up registration booths, as well as stereo equipment to play music while runners stretched and warmed up for the 5K. Blackstone Coffee donated generous amounts of hot coffee drinks to assist in the warm up.

There were over 70 runners signed up for the event online and more arrived on race day.

The event was organized this year by co-chairs junior English major Catie LeBouton, junior biology major Margot Jelinek and senior psychology major Hester Godfrey.

According to Godfrey, the event garnered consistent attendance over the past few years.

“We usually have a lot of community members register as well,” said Godfrey. “It’s as much of a community event as a school-focused one.”

LeBouton said she was pleased with the turnout.

LeBouton has been running since she was 5 years old.

“It is a family tradition…I run for my mother, who fought and won a battle with cancer, and for my family.”

Every runner had their own motivations. Some, like LeBouton, ran for family, and others ran to support the cause and stay in shape.

Alex Hartwig, a senior geography major and third overall finisher, said he never ran in an organized run before but that he ran for “all the people.”

“They are the winners,” said Hartwig.

Not all runners were on two feet. Chrissy DeMarr and her mother Jennifer Boyer ran with their four legged companions Snoop and Hope. DeMarr is a current faculty member and a 2012 graduate. They ran for Jennifer’s mother, who lost her battle to cancer. They also lost a dog to cancer.

“Dogs can get cancer too, that’s why we named her Hope, so we can hopefully find a cure,” said DeMarr.

UMW Relay for Life has over 25 teams and 102 participants and raised over $2,000 towards their $54,000 goal.

Relay for Life will continue to raise money for the cure until April 2014.