For seven hours, about 200 Gusties piled into Lund Arena where they participated in the 14th annual Relay For Life at Gustavus to help raise money for the American Cancer Society for the fight against cancer. This event was put on by Colleges Against Cancer. Their mission is to spread awareness of cancer as well as raise money to help fund cancer research. Throughout the year they work to inform the students and staff of Gustavus about cancer related issues.
“Participants were there to help raise funds for cancer research by selling luminaria. Each team member has to raise at least $25 to receive an event t-shirt,” Colleges Against Cancer Advisor Ann Volk said.
As stated on the Relay For Life website, donations from the event help fund groundbreaking cancer research, patient care programs, and can make a difference in communities like ours.
“I really appreciate the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself. I’m so blessed to be healthy and well-off,” First-Year Sarah Hinderman said.
With every donation, Gusties were helping the American Cancer Society save lives. In total (and still counting) the participants in this event raised $19,051.27.
Many teams took the challenge to raise the most money in support of the event. The teams who came out on top were ‘Gustavus Tennis’, with a total of $5,580 raised, ‘Cancer Sucks’, with $1,810 and ‘Theta Xi Gamma’ with $1,785. The top three individuals who raised the most money were seniors Devan Mellgren, Kiersti Grey and Abby Simms who all raised over $1,000. Many Gusties had their own reasons for choosing to participate in this event.
“I relayed because my family have been affected by cancer and I hope that no one will ever have to lose a loved one to cancer,” First-Year Emily Scroggins said.
For some of the participants, cancer didn’t have a strong impact on their personal life, but they still relayed.
“I took part in this event because it’s the least I could do for all those strong men, women, and children who have to fight this terrible disease. I want to do everything I can, no matter how small, to make a difference in their lives, ajd possibly even save a life,” Hinderman said.
This event had a busy schedule to keep the night alive. It began with a celebration ceremony where survivors and caretakers shared their stories.
“I loved hearing the stories of the people who had survived cancer and how cancer had affected their lives. The caretake’s story where she talked about taking care of her husband and daughter when they had cancer, was incredible and so touching. It was definitely my favorite part of the night,” Scroggins said.
The celebration ceremony was followed by a Gustavus Women’s Acapella performance and other events. These events included a photo booth, a ‘Minute to Win It’ game with the Sigmas, Stress Busters Chair massages, swing club performance and lessons, and a Dermascan where the ultraviolet light in the machine shows sun damage that the naked eye cannot see.
The luminaria lighting ceremony which honors cancer survivors was many people’s favoirte part of the night.
“All attendees were given a purple glow stick and lined up along the track. The lights were turned off, and the two co-chairs shared the symbolism of the evening and how it represents the cancer journey. The most powerful moment was when they said ‘if you are a cancer survivor, break your glow stick’, there were then a few clicks. It went on from there, if you have a parent that has had cancer, if you have a grandparent, continuing with siblings, spouses, relatives and friends. By the end, all were lit. It was such a special moment when we all realized that we have had cancer touch us personally and that we all have that common bond. It was that moment when the tears were shed the most,” Volk said.