Students participate in Relay for Life

Relay — Volunteers try to raise more than $4,000 for cancer research. Photo provided

Two hundred people will participate in Liberty University’s annual Relay for Life from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. April 12 to 13, 2012. Sponsors have already raised more than $4,000 for the event, and participants hope to top last year’s $16,000.

The 2012 Relay at Liberty will be the second overnight event. This year’s festivities include games, food and live music.

“Our performances for the night include Humble Tip, Skies Over Bethany, The Advocate, Rob Estevez, Smoke N’ Mirrors, Secondsounds, dance teams and steps teams,” Entertainment Coordinator Shara Seetaram said. “We will also have a DJ throughout the night and games that allow the participants to interact.”

The fundraiser brings together cancer survivors and their families for a continuous nightlong relay that represents the patience, courage and perseverance of those battling cancer. While Liberty’s first “mini” Relay took place in 2010, the event became a more official program last year, raising more than $16,000 for the American Cancer Society.

“I am so excited for this year. Last year was our year to test the waters. This year, we get to grow,” Luminaria Chair Kaitlin Dougherty said. As a member of the original Relay for Life team at Liberty, she recounted her personal connection she associates with the Relay.

“Both of my grandfathers died of cancer,” Dougherty said. “My first grandfather died when I was a little younger … But my recent grandfather died my freshman year at Liberty. So the first real Relay I had at Liberty, he wasn’t with me…There was nothing I could do about them getting cancer, but there is something I can do to stop anyone else in my family from dying from it.”

According to the official Relay for Life website, teams camp out at the designated race site and members take turns walking the track. The first lap is dubbed the Survivor’s Lap, which honors both survivors and those responsible for their recovery.

After dark, the Luminaria Ceremony remembers lost loved ones with the lighting of candles and a lap of silence. Finally, the Fight Back Ceremony challenges participants to personally commit to fighting cancer in their own personal lives through healthier lifestyle choices.

“Being part of the planning committee, it has been so amazing to see our school and community really bond together to fight cancer,” Seetaram said. “It’s so encouraging to me, as an executive committee member, to see students around campus talking about Relay and getting excited for the event.”

To learn more or to get involved, visit RelayForLife.org/libertyuniversity.

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