Relay for life to benefit research

Catherine Melvin

Cancer survivors are the main inspiration for this year’s Relay For Life.

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s largest community fund-raiser in the world. This year the fund-raiser begins at 7 p.m. Friday and runs through 7 a.m. Saturday at Smith Stadium.

“This is such a great way to promote teamwork and showcase Western,” said Brenda Moore, development representative from the American Caner Society.

This year the opening ceremony will feature a special guest, Ace Amerson from MTV’s “The Real World Paris.” He was invited to speak on behalf of his mother, who developed breast cancer. He will be there to walk the first lap with all of the cancer survivors.

The event will also feature the Curtis Mathews Band, Burly Curz Band and the John Martin Trio.

“It is a family event and we encourage everyone to take advantage of the night,” said Amanda Demarest, leadership and volunteerism coordinator of the Campus Activities Board.

All of the money raised from the event will go to benefit the mid-south division of the American Cancer Society’s goal of eliminating cancer. The society plans to accomplish this goal through education and research grants, advocacy and service.

“Lots of people don’t know much about cancer, especially if their families haven’t been through it,” Moore said. “It is a good opportunity for people to learn about the challenges that these people have to meet on a daily basis.”

Currently, there are 39 teams raising money. The American Cancer Society’s goal is to raise $21,300. Last year the Relay For Life raised a little more than $18,000.

“We hope to surpass our goal and it is looking good right now,” Moore said.

For those who don’t want to be on a team but would like to contribute in some way, any donations are welcome. They can purchase a luminary for $5 in memory of those who have died of cancer. These luminaries will be placed around the track during the walk.

“They will provide motivation for the walkers,” Demarest said. “But just coming to the relay will be enough to show your support.”

Reach Catherine Melvin at [email protected]