Each year across the nation, communities gather to participate in the Relay for Life event created by the American Cancer Society (ACS). The overnight event provides family, friends, and members of the community with an opportunity to celebrate those who have survived cancer, to remember those who have lost their battle to the disease, and to fight back. Rensselaer will host its third annual Relay for Life event April 25-26 on the ’86 Field. The theme for 2008 is “Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back.”
More than 1,437,180 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2008, and in addition, some 565,650 Americans are expected to die from cancer this year, according to recent statistics from the American Cancer Society.
Throughout the night, participating teams will walk, jog, and/or run laps around the field in an effort to raise cancer awareness, raise funds, and celebrate survivorship. To date, more than 400 Rensselaer students, faculty, staff, their families, and members of the surrounding communityled by members of the Greek life community and student athleteshave registered to participate in the event. So far, their fundraising efforts for this year’s event have raised more than $20,000 (and counting) for cancer research.
The event kicks off with the first lap around ’86 Field held in honor of cancer survivors from the Rensselaer campus and local community. Each individual will hold balloons to represent the number of years since their diagnosis. The lap is immediately followed by the Caregiver’s Lap to celebrate family members, friends, and all those who have been involved in the care of individuals diagnosed with cancer. A special highlight of the event is the Luminaria ceremonya candlelight vigil in honor of family members and friends who have faced cancer.
To create a festival-like atmosphere, live music, themed laps, comedic and music performances, and other activities will be held during the event.
Relay for Life was initially brought to Rensselaer in 2006 by Terri Kersch, former health educator in the Student Health Center, who is also a cancer survivor. In 2006, Rensselaer ranked as one of the top two colleges in the eastern division in this effort, after Cornell University, raising more than $116,600 for cancer research. To recognize Rensselaer’s accomplishments for the 2006 Relay for Life event, the American Cancer Society presented Rensselaer with the “Nationwide Number One Rookie Youth Event” award and the “Nationwide Number One Youth Per Capita Award,” in recognition of the fundraising accomplishments of the event participants at a Relay for Life on a university campus. Since its inception, Rensselaer has raised more than $250,000 to support cancer research.
The 2008 Relay for Life event is being organized by a 20-member committee made up of Rensselaer students, a Rensselaer employee, and the American Cancer Society.
For more information, go to http://events.cancer.org/RFLrpiNY.
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