The University of West Georgia will be hosting its third annual Relay for Life event on Friday, April 4. Relay for Life is a volunteer-run fundraising event put on in association with the American Cancer Society (ACS) in an effort to raise awareness about cancer. The university’s new president is allegedly very excited about this event.
“We met with President Marrero over the summer, and he is pumped about it,” said Katherine Baumann, a junior nursing major, Relay for Life at West Georgia’s President, and three-time Relay event director. “He sees it as being the connecting factor for the university.”
He has a point. Most fundraisers on campus are either run by a single collegiate organization. Relay for Life is managed and directed by student volunteers from any on-campus organization and the money raised goes directly to the ACS to aide in finding a cure for cancer.
“We’re pretty much the only way for students to get involved with something that everyone is touched by,” said Baumann. “Whether you do it for someone you know has cancer, or you do it because you want to contribute to a movement to eliminate cancer that you might get, or just for mankind, it is relatable from all aspects.”
The fundraiser runs off of participants and teams that sign up to walk around the track for the entirety of those twelve hours. Registration lasts up until 6 p.m. the day of the event. However, the earlier participants register, the more money they will be able to raise. The initial sign up fee is $10, however in order to be considered a committed participant, walkers are strongly encouraged to raise $100. Not to worry, that money does not necessarily come out of the participant’s pocket.
“A lot of people will register, pay the $10, then ask people to donate to them,” said Baumann. “We have a document, ‘How to Raise $100 in Five Days’. Obviously we want to get as much [money] as possible, but we think that $100 is absolutely something [each participant] can do.”
Although it took place in the Coliseum last year, Relay will return to the track it started on three years ago. The HPE Gym, located in the Campus Center, will play host to hopefully over 400 participants for a period of 12 hours. The relay itself will last from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. This 12-hour vigil is representative of the ups and downs of the personal journey each cancer patient makes.
“It’s supposed to symbolize what a cancer patient goes through,” said Baumann. “We have different ceremonies throughout the night, including a luminary ceremony that honors those we’ve lost.” Baumann knows about loss.
“My grandfather passed away from cancer when I was five,” said Baumann. “I’ve been doing Relay my whole life. I do it in memory of my grandfather, and also in honor of my grandmother who is a survivor. A lot of people need that reason.”
In the past, students and faculty from the university who wanted to volunteer or participate would join the Carroll County Relay. Most of the faculty continues to register with Carroll County, unaware that there is a difference between that the two. The Relay for Life staff for West Georgia has been having a difficult time trying to get the word out about the collegiate relay.
“Collegiate relays are somewhat newer,” said Baumann. “Most faculty and staff are still confused by the fact that we used to be a part of the Carroll County Relay. Now that we have a West Georgia Relay, we would love if departments got together and registered as teams.”