Fighting Cancer One Lap at a Time

By Ariel Jicha
Elm Staff Writer

Students celebrated another successful Relay for Life effort last weekend from 6 Saturday night until 6 Sunday morning in the Johnson Lifetime Fitness Center field house. After months of planning, poster-making, fundraising, T-shirt ordering, baking, and weekly meetings, the Relay committee’s hard work finally came to fruition. By the end of the night, 63 teams and 718 participants had raised a total of $51,625.11 to benefit cancer research.

Monetary donations were not the only way to donate to the cause. Several women cut their hair for Locks of Love, Phi Delta Theta auctioned off several of their eligible young men for dates, and another group of young men (or should I say, ladies?) competed for just the right amount of flamboyance in the annual Ms. Relay competition. Sophomore Patrick Derrickson won Ms. Relay for the second year in a row by collecting the most donations from participants. All together, the Ms. Relay contestants raised approximately $699 in three hours.

Other events included a burrito eating contest, a 90’s trivia contest, a wet T-shirt contest, and a rave. Students could buy strips of tape for Habitat for Humanity’s team, which slowly taped Professor Dr. Brian Scott to a wall in the gym. Senior Alex Anbarcioglu inspired all when he ran all twelve hours to earn a $1,000 donation from President Reiss. Between the antics and the tears, it’s safe to say that this year’s Relay was enjoyed by all.

Relay for Life began at Washington College when senior Devin Reilly founded the WC Chapter of Colleges Against Cancer in 2010. Reilly had good reason to spread cancer awareness and fund research.

“My mom is the main reason that I Relay because she is a two-time survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,” Reilly said. The first trial with cancer was “pretty pain-free,” she said. “She had beaten the disease within a year.” The second battle, however, proved significantly more challenging and included radiation, chemotherapy, drug-induced comas, and a severe case of pneumonia that caused a lung to collapse. Today, Reilly’s mother, though in remission, still walks with a cane.

“I also relay so that no other child will have to see a parent go through what I watched my mom go through. Parents are honestly like superheroes to kids and to have that image shattered was devastating,” Reilly said.

Since its founding in 2010, Relay has grown from the standard ceremony and $35,000 in donations to a year-long series of events, culminating in the 12-hour-long Relay for Life night and earning up to $65,000 a year.

Greek life, faculty, sports teams, and other clubs sponsored more events this year than ever before, Reilly said. “Relay brings millions of people together who are all fighting that same battle to share stories of both triumph and loss and through that, to heal. I also hope that students gain hope and courage from Relay. Hope from hearing all the stories of survivorship and courage from hearing all of the trials the survivors made it through to become cancer free.”

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