On Friday, April 13, The College of Wooster held their sixth Relay for Life; a fundraiser affiliated with the American Cancer Society to raise money for cancer research and cancer patients.
Everyone had a story about cancer to share.
Jeremy Ludemann, a sophomore communications studies major at The College of Wooster and the chair of team recruitment and entertainment, has a cousin who is a survivor of leukemia. “Without the research that has been done by the cancer society, he would not be able to get some of the medical standards he needs. I’m very appreciative of all of that.”
At Relay for Life, for 18 hours, one member from every team walked the Scot Center track, only stopping when someone took their place. There were 24 teams total. “Cancer never sleeps,” Ludemann said, describing the reasoning behind the activity. “That’s why we relay.”
Angie Wynar, a representative from the American Cancer Society, has been involved in the college’s Relay for Life since 2003. “I have cancer survivors in my family,” she said, which was the driving notion behind why she is so passionate about this program. However, Wynar has grown to love many different things about Relay. “The event helps bring so much community; it brings a positive light. I wanted to make a difference.”
Relay is not only an exercise event, but it is a way to show creativity through a great cause. At the entrance to the Scot Center, decorated tables were set up, filled with food cooked by the teams.
Shirley’s Angels, founded by Lauren Smith, a junior anthropology major, had a table dedicated to her grandmother, who had passed from liver cancer in 2009, the year she went to college. She reflected on what Relay for Life meant to her. “It’s a good cause: [cancer] affects a lot of people. Off the top of my head I know at least 11 of my friends and family that have been affected.” Smith expressed that cancer is “not something to be passed off.”
Over at Team Zebra’s table, Kelsey Smith expressed the same observation that Lauren had. “A lot of our lives have all been touched by cancer in different ways.” Her teammates, Dan Kellman, Clare Lash, and Maricela Metraux, agreed. While Kelsey’s mom is a survivor of melanoma, they had a friend whose mother had died from cancer. This year was Lash’s first to participate, along with Metraux’s, who had donated before but never walked. Kellman had also been involved in Relay for Life three years prior.
The ambiance in The College of Wooster’s new Scot Center was full of hope, memory, and dedication. There was a sense of love, generosity, and a feeling of commitment to the greater good through the fellowship shared by teammates.
This year’s Relay for Life motto was Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back. As Ludemann explained, the meaning is clear. “[We] celebrate those who survive cancer, remember why we’re here is to hopefully end cancer in our lifetime and to remember those who have survived cancer but are unfortunately no longer with us, and also to fight back against cancer and find ways for a cure.”
The fight against cancer continues to go on, but there continues to be hope through the dedication of these individuals. And it sure feels good.
Published: April 18, 2012