Relay for Life fights for cancer cure

Stevenson University will hold its eighth annual Relay for Life event March 30-31 from 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. in the Owings Mills gym.

During Relay for Life, at least one person from every team is always walking around the track to honor the fact that cancer never sleeps. (Photo from Relay for Life Facebook Page)

Relay for Life was started in May of 1985, when Dr. Gordon Klatt walked around an outdoor track for 24 hours to help raise money for the American Cancer Society. After Klatt’s first walk, he raised $27,000 and walked over 83 miles. At the next Relay for Life, 19 teams signed up, and they raised over $33,000 to help find a cure for cancer.

Prior to the start of the event, there will be a Survivor Reception. This year’s Relay will begin at 3 p.m. with an opening ceremony coupled with a speech by an American Cancer Society researcher, Paula Hurley.

Lauren Chelenza, a Stevenson nursing student and event lead, is excited to be one of the event organizers this year. Chelenza has been a part of the Relay for Life club since her freshman year, and she continues to work tirelessly for the success of this event and the club.

“Relay is unlike any other event on campus because it hits close to home for so many people,” said Chelenza. “Unfortunately, many people have been affected by cancer in some way, and this event raises awareness and money.”

In 2018, Stevenson “teams” set up camps in the Owings Mills gym as a home base for Relay for Life. (Villager file photo)

Relay for Life teams will set up their “camps” throughout the gym. Each team can compete in events and a camp decoration contest. Once the event is underway, the night will be filled with games and activities, including musical chairs, a dirt-eating contest, “Family Feud,” a scavenger hunt, and “Hungry Hippo.” All participants are encouraged to take part in the activities.

Starting at 9 p.m., a Luminaria Ceremony will begin that includes small bags decorated to commemorate loved ones whose lives were affected by cancer. The Luminaria bags will be lined along the walkway inside the gym. During the Luminaria Ceremony, the bags will be lit around the walkway for participants to take a lap. Speeches by a caregiver and a survivor will accompany the walk.

After the Luminaria Ceremony, Relay for Life will heat up with more games and activities for participants. At midnight, check-in for the event will end, and there will be no re-entry.

“Be prepared for a long, fun night,” said junior Relay for Life club member Kelly Dunworth.

Now is not too late to join a Relay team. Those interested in participating can go to Relay for Life’s website and join a Stevenson University team. The participation fee is $15, payable on Relay for Life’s website. All donations go to the American Cancer Society.

The Relay for Life club meets weekly on Tuesdays in the School of Business in room 308 at 8 p.m.

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