Relay for Life returns to PLU track
Students, faculty, staff and alumni will paint the campus purple on April 25 and 26 during PLU’s third annual Relay for Life
The relay begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 25. At least one member from each team will circle the university track for 18 hours, with the relay ending at noon on Saturday, April 26.
Relay for Life is an annual fund raising event for the American Cancer Society. Held in communities and at universities across the nation in the spring and early summer, it honors cancer victims, raises money for cancer research and builds community awareness of cancer-related issues.
The 18-member student planning committee wants PLU’s relay event to become a staple campus event, one the campus community looks forward to each spring, explained co-chair Laura Comstock. This year, they’ve focused on having a strong entertainment line-up and are working to make event a fun and memorable social gathering.
“It’s all about making a positive impact,” Comstock said. “If people come and have a really positive experience, then it’s going to be something they want to do.”
Comstock concedes that no amount of planned activities, amazing music groups or inspired speakers will make the event a success. It’s all about the people who choose to participate.
“The people are what is going to make the event really entertaining,” Comstock said. “If the right people aren’t there … the purpose of the event is lost.”
Fifty-nine teams are registered to participate, which is just shy of the planning committee’s goal of 60 teams. While some are a group of friends, others are organized around residence halls or campus offices.
Last year, PLU and the University of Puget Sound hosted a combined relay and raised over $70,000 together. PLU was responsible for raising $57,000 of that total. The university’s first relay event in 2006 raised $42,000.
Once again, the relay planning committee has high hopes for the fund raising abilities of the campus community. The goal is to raise $60,000 with 600 participants.
The relay begins with a “survivor lap” run by cancer survivors and their caregivers. Later in the evening, the Luminaria ceremony will remember those who have died from cancer and celebrate those who have survived.
According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, and half of all men and one third of all women in the country will develop the disease during their lifetimes.
The Relay for Life was created in the mid-1980s by a Tacoma doctor named Gordy Klatt. In an effort to raise money for his local American Cancer Society office, he ran more than 83 miles over a 24-hour period on the track in Baker Stadium at UPS. Throughout the night, his friends paid $25 to run or walk with him for 30 minutes, and he ultimately raised $27,000.