If you want college students to get involved with an issue, you should get food involved, right?
That’s exactly what the Gustavus Colleges Against Cancer group has done.
During their several weeks of fundraising leading up to their main event, Relay for Life, the group has done a Chipotle fundraiser, a “Pie a Gustie” day, and will have even more food the day-of.
On the night of Relay for Life, students form teams and walk the “track” in the ice rink.
This will go on throughout the course of the night, and is meant to symbolize that as long as cancer is still present, people will keep fighting against it.
“The main part of Relay for Life is walking around the track that is made with luminary bags. These bags are created by Relay participants in honor of or in memory of people who have had cancer,” Kiersti Grey, Co-President for Colleges Against Cancer, said.
However, the event is more than just a walk.
“There are a ton of activities that take place throughout the night like a photo booth, Minute to Win It games, bingo, swing dance lessons, free food, the Chuck Norris (burger) challenge, massages, and informative pieces, too, such as a dermascan to see where your skin has been damaged by the sun,” Nicole Pfalz, the other Co-President for Colleges Against Cancer, said.
In addition to the Colleges Against Cancer board, other student organizations will be participating in the event as well, such as Greek life.
“I got involved with Relay for Life through my sorority, Delta Phi Omega,” Callie Benge said. “We participate in Relay every year and run a table where we decorate bras and inform people about breast cancer (which is our philanthropy) as well as raise money for Relay.”
Although there are only about 20 members on the Colleges Against Cancer executive board, almost 200 Gustavus students have already signed up to participate in the event.
While the event is important for raising awareness about cancer, honoring those lost, and celebrating survivors, it is also a big fundraiser.
“No dollar goes unnoticed when you give to a cause like the American Cancer Society. Every single dollar raised goes to them and their fight against cancer,” Grey said. “[The money raised] will be used for cancer research and places to stay while cancer patients are going through their treatments, called the Hope Lodge.”
Of course, each participant in Relay for Life got involved for their own personal reasons. Pfalz has a very unique reasons for being involved.
“I got involved in CAC and Relay for Life at Gustavus because of my involvement in high school,” Pfalz said. “I grew up near a 3M chemical dumping site that caused several individuals at my high school to be diagnosed with cancer, with some of them passing. I also have lost many loved ones due to cancer, and came to understand the implications of the disease at a very young age.”
The Colleges Against Cancer board not only plans Relay for Life, but other American Cancer Society sponsored events such as the Great American Smokeout and Paint It Purple Week.
However, this year’s Relay is particularly special because of the speakers the board has invited.
“This year we are hosting two amazing speakers from within our community that are survivors themselves: Trina Rinke and Michele Rusinko,” Pfalz said. “Relay for Life is an incredibly energizing and emotional event that makes our community even more close-knit than it already is, considering the fact that we all have had our lives touched by cancer in various ways.”
Overall, the event is sure to be a powerful and impactful night for everyone involved. If you aren’t already, the Colleges Against Cancer board heavily suggests that everyone sign up to participate.
All participants pay a small donation in order to be involved, however, a majority of people fundraise more than that.
“I would invite everyone to come and join us in this fight against cancer. It is an amazing and powerful event every year,” Grey said, “I am excited to announce that we have raised over $10,000 so far this year! Join us in the fight against cancer from 6 p.m.-1 a.m. on Friday, April 27 in Lund.”