Celebrate, remember, and fight back. These words symbolize the American Cancer Society, and its mission to bring awareness of cancer through fundraising events held across the country, the latest of which is being held at Slippery Rock University.
This year’s Relay for Life fundraiser, which raises money for the American Cancer Society, will be held overnight from Friday, April 25, until the morning of Saturday the 26 at the Morrow Field House. Teams of students, faculty, and members of the Slippery Rock community will be walking and participating in activities aimed at bringing awareness to this major health concern.
Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) is one of the organizations participating in the event. Members of its executive board, including vice president Nicole Short, 20, strongly believe in the cause and have made Relay for Life a mandatory event for new members.
“This spring it’s one of two mandatory events that our new members must complete to be inducted,” Short said. “We feel like it’s a very good cause and we thought that this would be a good way to get as many people from our organization involved as possible.”
Short, a junior early childhood and special education major, is one of 30 members of KDP who has been selling t-shirts for the past few weeks, with a portion of their sales being donated to the American Cancer Society.
The t-shirts have the names of loved ones on the back who have survived, are still fighting, and have passed away from cancer to commemorate their fight, she said.
President of Sigma Sigma Sigma Becca Oberle, 21, a junior psychology and social work major, is attending Relay for Life with her sorority sisters to raise money for the American Cancer Society, an organization whose mission to raise funds for those in need, aligns with their own philanthropic values.
Oberle and her sisters are making it a mission to become more involved with the event than in years past, in part, because of Lauren Hart, a fellow Tri-Sigma sister.
“We do Relay every year, but Lauren has been a huge part of the reason why we’ve raised so much money this year,” Oberle said.
In addition to being involved with Tri-Sigma, Hart, 20, a sophomore public health major with a double minor in psychology and adapted physical activity, is involved with Colleges Against Cancer (CAC). She became involved with the organization after her friend died from cancer, and this year, she has made a unique pledge to raise money on her sorority’s behalf.
“We’ve raised about $725 for Relay for Life this year, and I’ve raised about $500 of that,” Hart said. “If I raise $600, I’m donating eight inches of my hair.”
The American Society of Safety Engineers also held a competition for safety management students that raised $941.22 for the department’s Relay for Life team, according to department secretary Patti Pink.
The event wouldn’t be possible without the members of CAC, who host Relay for Life annually. Alex Nietert, 20, serves on the organization’s executive board as its liaison in charge of coordinating with the teams participating.
The junior early childhood and special education major sends out emails and communicates with team captains in advance of the fundraiser.
“I run the team captain meetings, and oversee team recruitment and development for CAC,” Nietert said. “I wanted to do something to be a part of it.”
CAC President, Olivia Giger, 21, a senior psychology major with a double minor in exceptionalities and business administration, has played a huge role in Friday’s event. She helped to pick the theme for this year which is, “Knocking Cancer Out of the Park, One Swing at a Time.”
“This theme shows that the fight against cancer can be fun, but it’s a serious game,” Giger said. “It’s really a team effort.”
The fundraising goal for this year’s event is $50,000-$60,000. At the end of the 12-hour period, Giger hopes that the 800 students and 80 teams that have registered will meet this goal.
“As a whole we can beat cancer together,” Giger said. “I feel like Slippery Rock could push cancer to its limit. Relay for Life can really benefit from being here.”