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Get ready, Relay for Life set for April

February 14, 2008

Get ready, Relay for Life set for April

For the third time in as many years, PLU will host a Relay for Life event on campus.

The annual fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society also celebrates cancer survivors and caregivers and remembers those who’ve died from the disease. Relay events are held in communities across the nation.

Teams of students, faculty, staff and alumni are already forming for PLU’s 18-hour walk around the university track on April 25 and 26. This year’s theme, TV shows, has already garnered some creative names, such as Campus Ministry’s “God’s Anatomy,” a play on ABC’s popular drama “Grey’s Anatomy.”

As of Feb. 15, there were 34 teams signed up – more than half the committee’s goal of 60 teams. Once again, the relay planning committee has high hopes for the event, setting the fund-raising goal at $60,000 with 600 participants (10 people on each team).

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.

Planning for the relay began extra early this year in an effort to get more people involved, explained Katie Waller. Waller is one of 18 students on the planning committee that also includes SIL’s Amber Dehne and Allison Stephens and an ACS staff partner.

“We want to make it an event that people know about – one of those events that everyone talks about,” Waller explained.

Committee co-chair Guy Jensen believes the best way to give the relay that level of notoriety is to make it a fun, social event. To that end, the entertainment sub-committee is busy devising creative ways to get people engaged and keep them entertained.

Prior to the event, the committee is teaming up with campus organizations to host campus events that will both help raise funds and raise awareness. Teams are also encouraged to plan their own fund-raising events.

First up is a Relay for Life dance in The Cave this Friday, Feb. 22 at 9 p.m. Admission is just $1.

Other plans include a Relay for Life-themed HUMP on Wednesday, March 12 from 9 to 11 p.m., and a dodgeball tournament with a date to be determined.

Jensen encourages teams to sign up early and work hard to raise money. In the past, all teams received a participation T-shirt. However, this year, only those teams that raise $100 or more will receive a shirt, he said.

To registering to participate in the event, go to Relay For Life of PLU. Click on the links to start a team or join an existing team, and follow the step-by-step process.

The event begins at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 25. Each registered team must have at least one person walking around the track for the full 18 hours of the event, with the relay ending at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 26.

Cancer affects everyone, and most of the committee members have had family members or friends affected by the disease, explained committee co-chair Laura Comstock. According to the ACS, 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.

“It’s a coping skill to manage such a huge disease,” Comstock said of the relay event. “There is no way I as one person can make it go away, but this is a way to cope and do my part.”