Updated: May 8, 2019
The American Cancer Association is a reputable non-profit that puts on Relay For Life events around the country, all with the same goal: to celebrate and help the lives of those who are battling the plague of cancer.
Relay for Life is an event-based fundraiser that consists of teams that relay around a track consistently for a whole 24 hours straight, and during that 24 hours, money is constantly being raised through various raffles, mini fundraisers and personal donations.
All of the proceeds go directly to ACS, which is esteemed throughout the country, with more than 5,000 events taking place in the calendar year.
The Salisbury University Relay has been taking place for 18 years now, placing it as one of the top Relays in the United States, each year the torch being passed on from students who pride themselves in putting on an all-inclusive, 100 percent non-profit event.
SU sophomore and early childhood education major Emily Huff has been affected by cancer in the most intimate of ways, setting her on this determined path to continue the Relay on campus.
Huff was more than willing to answer some questions and explain her personal ties to the event on behalf of the SU campus and the Relay Committee after the arduous event this past Friday night into Saturday morning.
“I joined relay because my mom is a cancer survivor and I lost my grandfather to cancer, so this is a disease that has affected me very personally,” Huff said.
Huff finds that the event is a way to work together with other members of the university, to collaborate in an event that goes beyond just Salisbury.
“Relay allows our campus to raise thousands of dollars that goes directly to the American Cancer Society. This is used to help fund research, provide housing and services to patients, and make wigs for survivors,” Huff said.
Another SU student who has found cancer to impact her life has made Relay For Life a priority. SU junior Mary Guest has been personally affected by cancer and has relayed every year while in college.
Guest has found each event to be more rewarding than the last.
“My first relay was at my previous school and I got to come up with a booth and an idea for it, it was more rewarding with the work I put in," Guest said. "It was a lot of work, and a lot of fun at the same time, I met a lot of people who came together for the same reasons as me.”
Guest revealed her personal ties to cancer as she explained that her grandmother was a victim of the disease.
“My mom-mom had breast cancer 13 years ago, when I was 8, it affected me personally for sure, I remember when she lost her hair me and my siblings were shook, we were like 'where’d it go,' and we used to play with her head," Guest said. "I think anyone who has had a family member with breast cancer feels more inclined to relay, I think it's great.”
Mary is just one example who has felt the personal benefits of Relay For Life, for the event matters to a lot of people, not only on campus, but nationally, it brings 709 million in services to cancer patients in need.
From direct cancer research to detection and treatment Relay does everything it can to stop the widespread impacts of cancer in its tracks.
The event this year had its obstacles, for the event, which is normally held partly outside, was moved indoors to Maggs Gym due to inclement weather. Along with the weather, participants had to cope with a blown fuse, and many struggled to run their stations that required cooking devices, or any sort of electronic.
Among the struggles, Huff still thought the event was extremely successful.
“I feel like this relay was great," Huff said. "Despite the bad weather and a power outage, our whole campus still came together to raise over $58,000.”
Huff emphasized that the overall morale of students was great and that the crowd was eager and enthusiastic throughout the 12-hour-long event.
"Everyone seemed very excited to be there all night and we also had many people who stayed until closing ceremonies at 6 a.m., which was amazing.”
Emily and the Relay Committee have backed up their words by doing a tremendous job in this year’s relay. Despite the location change due to rain, this year’s relay brought in $58,663.84.
A feat that not many college Relays accomplish, this year SU will rank in the top 15 university-based Relay for Life events, making it one of few in attempting to complete the mission in stopping cancer.
Cancer riddles the lives of one in three Americans, with 609,640 dying from the disease last year alone, according to the American Cancer Society. The impacts of cancer are seen by nearly everyone and SU makes it a priority to stop the widespread problem in its tracks.
By JARED SHEMONSKY
Featured photo: Emma Reider images.