BY LAUREN VELASCO
Drake’s Colleges Against Cancer organization raised close to $21,000 in donations for the American Cancer Society at its Relay for Life event on Friday.
Students and community members raised money and created teams to contribute to the fight against cancer. The teams walked for the cause and competed in various tournaments.
Relay for Life was held in the Knapp Center on Friday night from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. The basketball courts were used for games such as spike ball, basketball, volleyball and more. On the track above, there were different booths for organizations and food.
A different group performed every half an hour. Performances included the Drake Dance Team, D+ Plus Improv, Fermata the Blue and the Brocal Chords.
“I think it’s a fun event that has something for everyone to participate in. No matter what you’re interested in you’ll find something,” first-year Madeline Cramer said. “I think (Relay for Life) is a good way to give back to the community and give back to the world.”
Relay for Life is nationally-recognized, with events all over the country.
“It was an awesome feeling to know that I can continue to participate in Relay for Life,” sophomore Kelli Jo Welter said. “I was really involved in my community’s Relay at home during high school, and to get to be a part of it in college is great. While I’m sad that cancer has negatively affected so many of my loved ones, this is an opportunity to for me to fight back for them.”
For some, the most impactful part of the night was the Luminaria ceremony. Cancer survivors told their stories and Luminaria bags were arranged to spell out the “hope.”
“I really enjoyed the Luminaria ceremony. It touched peoples’ hearts to know that everyone knows someone with cancer. It was interesting seeing everyone walk around the track in honor of the people that everyone knew with cancer,” Cramer said.
The audience was also asked to stand up and take a lap around the track if they knew someone who had been affected by cancer in some way.
“My favorite part of the night was when the people hosting the event asked people who had had immediate family members affected by cancer to take a lap around the track. My father had cancer for just over a year before he was cancer free so I, along with many of my good friends, got up to take a lap,” sophomore Courtney Jasper said. “By the time we finished the lap and sat back down, the words that had been written out in lights had changed from ‘hope’ to ‘cure.’ This was a nice reminder of the importance of what we were doing and was also very moving.”
The money raised will make an impact on the research done by the American Cancer Society and people suffering from cancer.
“Overall, Relay for Life isn’t about raising the most money. In my eyes, Relay For Life is about supporting people who fought difficult battles against cancer and celebrating their lives and a hope for a better future,” Jasper said.