UAB students and community fight against cancer

By on April 9, 2013

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Approximately one out of every three people will have cancer in their lifetime.

On Friday, April 5th, a team of students and cancer survivors met on the Campus Green to help in the fight against cancer.

The northern half of the Green was lined with team tents and luminarias, forming the walking track that would be marched on for the entirety of the 12 hour event.

Relay for Life is a world-wide fundraiser taking place in the United States and in 19 countries across the globe. Originating in 1985, Relay for Life has become the largest annual fundraising event in the world. Every penny earned through these events benefits the American Cancer Society.

Programs such as Hope Lodge, a place for people to stay while receiving cancer treatment in a town that is distant from their home and Road to Recovery, a transportation service to medical facilities for those undergoing treatment, are funded through American Cancer Society. The ACS also supports several research labs on UAB’s campus and has supported them financially with approximately $24 million dollars.

UAB’s Relay for Life was just one of many that will take place over the next two months. Festivities kicked off at 6 p.m. with welcome speeches, a pep rally featuring the UAB band, Blazerettes, and cheerleaders, and the Survivor lap.

Relay for Life takes place in 19 countries across the globe. Sarah Adkins/Staff Photographer

Relay for Life takes place in 19 countries across the globe. Sarah Adkins/Staff Photographer

Friday night was a night to celebrate cancer survivors, remember the ones who have lost their battles with the disease, and to fight back against the disease that has affected so many people.

Participating teams lined the track with tents as a designated spot for team members, and also a place to continue fundraising through on-site fundraisers. Several things being sold were pizzas, raffle tickets for massages and facials, scarves, and face painting.

Live music was enjoyed by all who were in attendance and laughs were shared while Positively Funny Inc. performed their improve act. A Mr. Relay pageant took place, dubbing the most entertaining male, dressed in female attire, Mr. Relay of 2013.

While the majority of the night was dedicated to celebrations and fighting back against cancer, the luminaria ceremony was reserved for a silent lap around the track in remembrance of those who have been lost to cancer. During the ceremony, sky lanterns were released, torches were lit, and luminaria bags lined to track, lighting the way for those who were walking in honor and memory of close ones.

“I didn’t know that my family donated a torch in honor of my grandparents,” stated participant Leyah Schwartz. “When I heard their names, I was instantly taken aback. I’m glad they were recognized.”

While many teams packed up before the 6 a.m. closing ceremonies, there were those who persevered through the night. Events like midnight Zumba, a Relay scavenger hunt at 3 a.m. and sunrise yoga at 4:45 a.m. were all scheduled to give an opportunity for the all-nighters to get their blood flowing and to make it through the night.

Sarah Stephenson
Staff Writer
sarahlou@uab.edu

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