Relay for Life kicks off at NAU
By Emily Bridgewater
Organized by the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life events are a way for people to honor cancer survivors in addition to anyone they lost to cancer. In the meantime, it also works as a cancer research fundraiser.
According to www.relayforlife.org, Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser and happens in more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries.
NAU hosts their very own Relay for Life event every year in the Walkup Skydome. Many groups participate, and the basic idea is to always have someone from each team walking around the track. There is an opening ceremony, a survivor lap, a caregiver lap, a Luminaria ceremony, an individual walking and finally, a fight back ceremony. The action does not stop until after a full 24 hours, because the idea is “Cancer never sleeps, so why should we?”
Alex Messina, a junior English major, is the director of team development who got involved with Relay for Life this past year.
“Last year was my first year with Relay for Life,”Messina says. “I had never heard of it before, but one of my close friends was on the committee.”
This friend persuaded Messina to get involved with the relay, and when she did, she loved it so much, it made her want to be on the committee this year.
As director of team development, Messina is in charge of recruiting and talking to team captains, because the more people who participate, the better.
“The number one goal for me and for my team development in general is we are trying to hit 100 teams,” Messina says. “It’s the American Cancer Society’s 100th birthday and we are trying to kind of honor that by getting 100 teams.”
Messina believes reaching 100 teams is definitely possible, because the team count for NAU’s relay in 2011 was 86.
“As of this morning, we have 45 teams registered for our event in April,” Messina says.
Brooke Alden, a freshman biomedical science major, is working with Relay For Life as one of the team captains.
“Well, I’m a cancer survivor and I wanted to volunteer somehow with American Cancer Society,” Alden says. “I thought it would be the easiest way to connect to both the relay community and NAU community [because] Relay is specific.”
Raising money for the event is a huge factor, and each team partaking has a specific goal of how much money they strive to raise.
“Each team has a general goal of $1,000,” Alden says. “That’s just pretty generic no matter who signs up; I’d obviously like to get more than that.”
In 2011, Relay for Life NAU raised more money than UA and all three ASU campuses.
“NAU’s Relay is looking to make at least $10,000 more than they made last year,” Alden says. “So, we kinda want to blow that out of the water again.”
Team leaders are encouraged to recruit as many people possible, because more people means more time for fun through the night.
“You always have one person from your team walking at all times. So, that’s why we’re getting a huge team so that it’s easy to keep one person going and switch off,” Alden says.
Relay for Life kicked off their season on Oct. 23 and from here on out, sign ups and preparation for the event in April will occur. The exact date for NAU Relay for Life 2013 is yet to be announced.
“We want a lot more people to be involved,” Alden says. “It’s a fun time; so people aren’t going to regret it if they sign up and do it, it’s fun.”