Walking and waking for a cure

By Daniel Kerwin

When considering the various worries and problems of a college student, cancer isn’t an issue that usually comes straight to mind. Unfortunately, it is an issue that far too many members of the Macalester community have to deal with in everyday life, whether it affects them or a loved one.Next Friday, the campus will come together in recognition of the effects of cancer on the community in Macalester’s first ever Relay For Life event. The event, which will take place in the Leonard Center field house, is a 12 hour long walkathon that will serve as a time acknowledge those whose lives have been affected by cancer as well as acting as a fundraiser to benefit the work of the American Cancer Society.

The event starts at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 17, and finishes at 6 a.m. the next morning. The idea of holding it overnight is to convey the notion that cancer never sleeps. Participants form different teams, with one team member taking part in the “relay” around the track at all times during the event. However, there is more to the event than making ovals around the track.

Four student bands will be performing throughout the night, including Pursued by a Bear and The Muskies. Other student groups such as the Sirens, the Martial Arts club and the Irish dance group will make appearances as well. There will also be professionals giving chair massages and haircuts, and organizers say there will be plenty of food throughout the night.

At sunset, there will be a Luminary Ceremony in recognition of people who have been affected by cancer. Bags with the names of those people will be set up around the track and everyone will take a lap in their honor.

There is still time to sign up for a team or to create a team of your own right up until the day of the event. To do so, go to relayforlife.org/macalestercollege. There’s no need to be on a team to come to the event, though there is a suggested donation of around $5 for anyone who shows up.

“Even if you aren’t a part of a team, come out and see the student bands,” Hutchison.

Hutchison is a co-chair for the Macalester chapter of College Students Against Cancer, the organization that did the bulk of the planning for the event. The chapter has only been around since the first part of the semester, and putting on a Relay For Life was a top priority.

Hutchison and fellow co-chair Adam Freedman ’12 had experienced Relay For Life events in high school and wanted to bring that opportunity to Macalester.

“Pretty much all the colleges I applied to had a Relay For Life, I was surprised Mac didn’t,” Hutchison said.

The events serve as the biggest single fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, and have been held around the country for the past 25 years. Other colleges and universities, such as St. Thomas, St. Kate’s and the University of Minnesota, also host Relay For Life events.

Macalester’s College Students Against Cancer chapter is planning on holding other cancer awareness events as it gets a foothold on campus, and so far this year’s Relay For Life has been a good crash-course in event planning for them.

“We’re hoping we’ll have year round activities, such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but each year Relay For Life will be our biggest event,” Freedman said.