Starting at 6 p.m. Friday night in the Knapp Center and continuing until 6 a.m. Saturday morning, Drake students will once again have an opportunity to make a difference in the world on campus: Relay for Life is back.
“Relay for Life is a 12 hour continuous walk/run in order to celebrate our hard work in raising money for the American Cancer Society,” said junior Ashley Beisch, co-vice president of the Colleges Against Cancer group on campus.
Beisch and the rest of CAC are helping organize this year’s event. Registration is easy, and the commitment to walk or run with a team helps combat a disease that almost everyone can relate to. Beisch can certainly relate, and as is the case with many people participating, the event is more than just a simple walk.
“When I was six years old, my brother, Sean, who was four, was diagnosed with juvenile leukemia,” Beisch recalled. “He passed away at the age of eight.”
Because of this, Beisch has helped organize 17 Relay for Life events and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
Senior Robin Sautter, co-president of CAC along with junior Carly Hamilton, oversees all of the committees and members of the organization and has put a lot of effort into making this year’s Relay even bigger than last year’s.
“This year, we set a goal of raising $40,000 for the American Cancer Society,” Sautter said. “Last year, we raised approximately $37,000, and we hope to continue to raise the bar each year.”
Beisch said Drake has been a huge supporter of Relay for Life in the past.
“If I calculated right, this means that Drake alone was able to provide 100 children with medicine for a whole year,” she said. “Now that is something to be proud of.”
Additionally, CAC is looking for over 600 participants at the event, which is open to Drake students, faculty, staff and the Des Moines community. Last year, roughly 650 people participated, which was a record number of participants.
This year, the entertainment is even bigger than before.
“We are hosting comedian Tracy Ashley, who will be performing at 7:30 p.m.,” said first-year pharmacy student Carly Noyes, who is the entertainment co-chair for the Student Activities Board along with junior Dan Nottke.
Ashley was a semi-finalist on the “Last Comic Standing” on NBC and has performed at prestigious comedy festivals.
These benefits, though, are far outweighed by the feeling of helping others.
“The main portion of the night is the Luminaria Ceremony, where we remember those we have lost and celebrate those survivors still among us,” Beisch said. “It is also a chance for participants to hear stories from actual survivors or care givers of cancer patients.”
Noyes said that the Relay is fun for anyone who attends it.
“Guaranteed, any student who participates in the Relay for Life will come away with great memories and a positive experience,” Noyes said. “There will be many things besides walking around the Knapp Center, and students will know they are part of a huge community that is actively fighting cancer.”