Glow Walk honors people affected by cancer

BreeAnn Burgess (left), a junior from Owensboro, participates in the Glow Walk benefitting the American Cancer Society on WKU’s campus Tuesday, with junior Sydney Fones of Bowling Green (center). 

Lillie Eastham

WKU’s Relay for Life hosted its third annual Glow Walk on Tuesday night to support the American Cancer Society.

The Relay for Life is a national organization that strives not only to fight cancer through fundraising, but also provides a chance to celebrate the lives of survivors and those still battling cancer, according to Warren County Relay for Life, a close partner of WKU’s chapter.

Student organizer and Danville senior Taylor Stewart said the Glow Walk is now WKU Relay for Life’s most significant event of the year since they have discontinued the Relay for Life event due to restructuring.

“I grew up going to Relay for Life,” Stewart said.

She said she is passionate about the American Cancer Society because of how cancer has affected her personally.

Stewart spent her childhood at Relay for Life events because her father is a cancer survivor.

When Stewart came to WKU, she met William Christian Lewis Shadburne who would strengthen her desire to raise money for the cause. Shadburne was 22 years old and a senior at WKU when he passed away from cancer in 2016.

Allie Blythe, a participant in the Glow Walk, said she also has a personal connection to the cause. Her grandmother had breast cancer, and she felt that almost everyone should have reason to support Relay for Life.

“It’s important to raise money for cancer because it’s one of the leading causes of death in America,” Blythe said.

Approximately 38.5 percent of people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. According to a CBS News poll, 54 percent of Americans said they or an immediate relative had been diagnosed with cancer.

It is statistics like this that inspired Josclynn Brandon to be the WKU Staff Advisor for the Glow Walk. Like so many others, Brandon had a personal connection that drew her to Relay for Life after her grandmother passed away from lung and brain cancer.

“We are here to light up the path of cancer,” she said to the crowd as they prepared to walk, with each participant holding a glow stick.

At Centennial Mall, Relay for Life had t-shirts, glow sticks, concessions and a raffle before the event began. The walk allowed participants to use apps such as Venmo and Cash App to make purchases, to raise the maximum amount of money.

The walk itself went from Centennial Mall to the Preston Center and drew attention from students on campus.

Warren County Relay for Life will be hosting its annual Pink in the Park at the Bowling Green Hot Rods ballpark on Oct. 28.

Reporter Lillie Eastham can be reached at 270-745-6011 or lillie.eastham4[email protected].