45 teams participate in Relay for Life

Catherine Melvin

Smith Stadium was littered with tents, grills, footballs, sleeping bags and coolers on Friday night. It wasn’t a tailgate party, it was the third annual college Relay for Life sponsored by Western.

“The atmosphere is so upbeat and exciting,” said Amy Risley, development representative for the American Cancer Society’s Bowling Green chapter. “It is an eye-opening experience to see people get so excited about it.”

The night kicked off by recognizing the survivors of cancer and the struggles they faced. The walk began with a survivor lap before the teams participating in the event began.

One person from each of the 45 teams participating was required to stay on the track throughout the night.

“This represents that cancer never sleeps and the hardest time for patients is when it is quiet and they are alone,” Risley said.

The night was filled with three-legged races, a Mr. Relay contest, fundraising on site, cookouts and games to keep the morale up.

“It is such a great experience to watch this event play out because students are the biggest part of it,” said Amanda Demarest, leadership and volunteerism coordinator at Western.

The letters HOPE were spelled out in luminaries on the bleachers of Smith Stadium and other luminaries circled the track with names of those who have died of cancer.

“It is great to help out in the community and show our support. We also like to have fun and raise money for such a great cause,” said Louisville sophomore Brandon Bibelhauser, a member of the Phi Sigma Pi honor fraternity.

According to the Relay for Life Web site, cancer is a deadly illness that will affect or already has affected many people. Loved ones who have survived cancer or who have died of cancer served as the inspiration for many people coming to participate in the Relay for Life.

“My grandmother passed away of breast cancer so I feel that it is important for me to show my support for a good cause,” said Erin Kobs, a graduate student from Greenville, Tenn.

The goal for this Relay For Life was $21,000 dollars and as of last Tuesday night the ACS had raised $19,000.

Reach Catherine Melvin at [email protected]