Over seven million people die from cancer worldwide every year. This astonishing number affects the lives of even more individuals whose mother, father, child, grandparent, or friend have lost their lives battling the disease.
In efforts to offer support those individuals and raise awareness about the disease, Keene State College hosted a Relay for Life in the Spaulding Gymnasium.
All were welcomed to join the nightlong relay, including teams of KSC organizations such as, Love Your Melon members, sports teams, sororities and fraternities.
The American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser, Relay for Life, is the world’s largest walk to end cancer. According to the Relay for Life webpage, the global event raises more than $400 million for the investment of further cancer research, and to provide free information and services to cancer patients and their families.
The Relay for Life is an opportunity to remember those whose lives have been taken by cancer, honor those who have survived the disease and to continue fighting for a cure.
Several KSC students attended the event and some even brought their blankets to campout in the gym overnight.
Brittany Junkins, member of KSC sorority Delta Xi Phi, said her organization’s philanthropy is the American Cancer Society and they participate in the relay every year, raising as much money as they can. “It is something that we each have personally either a bond or experience with or someone we are here to support and it’s something that we all hold special to us.”
Many students participated in the Relay because they have had loved ones fight cancer.
KSC First-year Sienna Tedesco explained that cancer hits home for many. “Myself as well as a lot of other people in our organization have had to deal with cancer, so it’s a good way to support the cause,” Tedesco said.
KSC Senior Monika Gierula of Sigma Rho Upsilon said this is her fourth time participating in the Relay for Life with her organization, and that they definitely want to keep the tradition going. “My mom is a cancer survivor and on top of that a majority of our sisters’ families are either cancer survivors or have passed due to cancer, so it is definitely a big priority in our lives,” Gierula said.
Love Your Melon Captain Tara Doherty said her organization is all about raising money and aid for pediatric cancer. According to their facebook page, Love Your Melon is an apparel brand run by college students across the country on a mission to give a hat to every child battling cancer in America. The Love Your Melon crew as well as their friends made an appearance at the relay raising $2,725 from their organization alone. “My dad is a cancer survivor so I started being a part of these events in high school and I love to participate,” she said.
For one student, cancer almost took the life of her mother before she was even born. KSC Junior Jessica Cantone walked with the Advocates for Healthy Communities and described what it was like for her to walk for cancer. “When i walk I am honoring my mother who was diagnosed with hodgkin’s lymphoma while she was pregnant with my older brother. She survived despite only having a 40 percent chance to live and has been cancer free for 24 years.
Alexandra Enayat can be contacted at email@example.com