With cancer affecting families across the world, empathetic Keene State College students are fighting to help victims by participating in the world-wide Relay For Life event.
“Cancer has affected my family. My grandfather is a cancer survivor, so I wanted to be part of something that helps fundraise money for it,” treasurer of the club, Catherine Cloutier, said.
Relay for Life is a fundraiser put on by volunteers to raise money for cancer research.
According to the Relay For Life website, funds raised will go towards honoring survivors, remembering loved ones and providing resources to cancer patients and families.
These resources include free rides to appointments, free places to stay near hospitals and a 24/7 helpline for answers and support.
Cloutier cited that over the past nine years, the college has fundraised over $250,000 for cancer research.
“That’s an incredible amount for such a small school,” said Cloutier.
President of the club and, senior Katelynn Kaimi, explained that how there is a lot of stress that goes along with planning the event.
Kaimi said there are a lot of moving parts and there is a lot that can get forgotten. Despite this, she did say the event went without problems last year.
“It was so hectic, but no one on the outside sees that, which is really pleasing for me,” said Kaimi.
One of the major events that must be planned is walking the track. Jessica Gagne Cloutier, the advisor of the group, said that the walk serves as a time of reflection of the mission and purpose of Relay For Life.
“I always make sure, no matter how busy I am, that I take time to walk a few laps. My grandpa recently completed treatment for Merkel Cell Carcinoma and, hopefully, will be well enough to walk the survivor lap at age 94,” said Gagne Cloutier.
The event also allows students to make connections with community members and hear their experiences with cancer.
Cloutier said that in her three years in the club, she has had many opportunities to connect with people.
“I got the chance to connect with cancer survivors, hear their stories and learn about how strong they are,” Cloutier said.
Specifically, Cloutier mentioned a woman at last year’s event who dedicated a dance to her best friend. She lost her best friend to cancer and she performed for everyone at the relay.
“It was a beautiful way to memorialize her best friend,” said Cloutier.
To join the team, students can show up to meetings on Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. in room 308 of the Student Center.
Keene’s Relay For Life will be held on Saturday, March 28, starting at 12:00 p.m and going until 10:30 p.m.
Although there is a $15 registration fee for the relay, the event is free for anyone to attend. Donations are always welcome, as any amount of money can impact individuals across the world.
“My grandfather passed away because of cancer, so it’s personal for me. I want to help create more birthdays,” said Kaimi.
Kiana Joler can be contacted at email@example.com