Celebrating life, delivering hope

KSC rallies at Relay for Life

Megan Grenier

Equinox Staff


Emma Contic / Graphics Editor Above: KSC senior and KSC Relay for Life organizer Becca Lazinsk walks with her father Eric, a cancer survivor, and brother Daniel.

Hundreds of Keene State College students joined together for the fourth year to celebrate, remember and fight back against cancer for 12 straight hours at Relay for Life in the Spaulding Gymnasium starting on Friday, April 12, 2013.

If it wasn’t for KSC senior Becca Lazinsk, Relay for Life may not have made its way to KSC, and the thousands of dollars raised for the American Cancer Society by students and community members never would have been possible for four straight years.

Lazinsk has been a part of Relay For life since she was in fifth grade and joined the committee in eighth grade, the year after her mother passed away from cancer.

Relay for Life comes to Keene NH from KSC-TV on Vimeo.

“It’s very bittersweet that this is my last one; it’s pretty weird,” Lazinsk said.

Lazinsk said that even though she’s graduating this May, Relay For Life at KSC will continue.

Lazinsk said that the committee consists of mostly seniors because when she decided to start Relay For Life at KSC her freshman year she only had her friends join.

“But this year more than ever we have a solid group of underclassmen who I think are really going to step up next year,” Lazinsk added.

Relay For Life had performances from the KSC Dance Team and Chock Full of Notes, along with student DJs playing music all night long with games and free food.

“There’s always something to do,” Lazinsk said.

The basketball hoops, walls and the Relay track were all decorated with streamers and balloons to celebrate the one-hundredth birthday of the American Cancer Society (ACS).

“As someone who has known many people who have had cancer, that’s always such a special time [birthdays] because that’s a day that celebrates them, they did it, that they’re still here to have that cake; it’s very powerful,” Lazinsk said.

Celebrating is the first part of relay.

Cancer survivors walk one lap around the track in order to celebrate what they have accomplished.

“To see survivors walk around that lap is very emotional and inspiring,” Lazinsk said.

She added that a student survivor, Christy Nguyen, is part of the Relay For Life Committee.

Nguyen explained that she was diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma at 16.

Nguyen participated in her first relay in Nashua, N.H. By participating in such a huge event, Nguyen said that was when she realized that there were other people like her.

“Regardless if they’re young or old, we all have similar stories,” Nguyen said. Nguyen continued to say how Relay for Life at KSC became a coping mechanism for her, both for her struggle and from losing loved ones to cancer.

Another KSC survivor who walked the track on Friday was Sarah Baker.

Baker said that she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in January 2012.

“I was cleared July 17 [2012], so it wasn’t too long and I’ve been nine months cancer free,” Baker said.

Baker participated in Relay For Life at KSC her sophomore year, before she was diagnosed with cancer, and she participated again this spring.

“I just want there to be a cure. I don’t want anyone to ever have to hear the words, ‘you have cancer,’” Baker said.

The second part of relay is to remember with the Luminaria ceremony.

“This is my twelfth year of relay I’ve been through, and even more than that Luminaria ceremonies, and I cry every single time and every single time it’s a good thing,” Lazinsk continued to say that it’s a time to pause to remember and honor loved ones.

The fight back ceremony is the final part of Relay For Life. Lazkinsk said that this part of the night is dedicated to working harder to raise money,

“We’re not happy where we are–yes, it’s great but we can do better,” Lazinsk said.

KSC had 32 teams and 364 participants in this year’s Relay For Life. They raised a total of $20,801 for the ACS. Lazinsk was the top participant, raising $981 for her team.

The 32 teams created for this year’s Relay For Life raised hundreds and some even thousands of dollars for the cause.

The team who raised the most money was SAC Nation.

Social Activities Council and Owl Nation decided to join their organizations together to create one team, SAC Nation co-captain Hannah Gawrys said.

“Originally our goal online was $100 and then we beat it pretty fast and then today we just upped it to $150 and then we beat it and I upped it to $200 and we beat it today so we’re pretty excited,” Gawrys said.

SAC Nation ended up raising $2,410. The Athena Nursing club was not far behind SAC Nation, raising a total of $2,240.

Colleen Boyd, co-captain with Alex Morley, said, “Our goal was to raise $1,000 and we doubled that and I am so enthusiastic about that.”

Morley explained how as nursing majors they come across patients who have had cancer and they also have family members and friends, so they see both sides of the spectrum. All participants at relay have that one common reason to be there: knowing someone or being someone who has had cancer.

Senior Elizabeth Behr said, “This is my fourth year at the Keene relay and I do a relay at home in honor of a friend’s father every year because he’s been battling this since I was six and I’m 21 now so  that’s 15 years that we’ve been doing that relay.”

Lazinsk said that even into the late hours of the event, at 3  or 4 a.m., they don’t need to check to see if anyone is walking, because there are always people fighting.



Megan Grenier can  

be contacted at


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