College hopes to host Relay for Life in April


Kristin Cannon

A community executive for the American Cancer Society was on campus Thurs., Nov. 29, to discuss the possibility of Johnson State College hosting Relay for Life next semester.

The Relay for Life event is being coordinated by Donne Rae Decatur, community executive of development for the American Cancer Society (ACS), alongside Coordinator of Student-Athlete Development at JSC Kristin Cannon, and any students who would like to be a part of it.

The committees that must be formed to make the event possible will tackle publicity, fundraising, spirit, and recruiting. They will meet in January to begin preparing for the event which will take place in April. These committees will also meet a couple times per month prior to the event, each meeting lasting about 30-45 minutes.

Nearly 4,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year, and the goal of ACS is to eliminate cancer for the future generations, and to create a world with more birthdays.

“Every Relay for Life gives everybody an opportunity to come together, whether it be family members, community members, fellow students, and it’s basically… either walking around a track or some kind of field, kind of event, and everybody doesn’t have to walk every lap,” says Decatur. “At least someone from your team is supposed to be on a lap all through the event.

Seventy cents from every dollar that you donate or raise will go towards cancer research, and much of the remainder goes toward establishing camps for kids with cancer, the Hope Lodge in Burlington, which houses cancer patients while they go through treatments, et cetera.”

Kristin Cannon got involved, because people she cared about became afflicted with the disease. “All have fought a brave fight,” Cannon said in an email interview. “Some I celebrate life with, others I remember fondly. I have been familiar with ACS for years and helped with fundraising and volunteering for various causes and events, and I think it would be an amazing experience for JSC to host Relay For Life on campus. I believe we are a caring community and we can be part of something really special.”

Even though Cannon has an interest, because she has seen firsthand what cancer patients go through, you don’t have to be that close to the disease to want to help the cause.

Throughout the event there will be games, music, and a luminaria ceremony to remember loved ones lost. Those who want to participate in the event (but maybe not the set up) should establish a team of 10 to 13 people, and once the event becomes more of a reality, these teams will be able to register online.

The hope is that team members will raise at least $100 apiece, the amount at which each team member is rewarded with a t-shirt. Relay for Life celebrates cancer survivors and their caregivers as well as honors those who lost their battle. It also presents information about how people can fight back.

The event will be 12 hours long, from 6pm to 6am. Being a twelve hour event symbolizes the first twelve months after someone is diagnosed with cancer, and being an overnight event represents the emotions that people experience through the course of their treatment.

As cancer patients go through treatments they are sick, exhausted, and just want to give up. “With the Relay,” Says Decatur, “you’ve been walking a long time, and you kind of feel the same way. You feel like: I want to give up, I want to go home, but you can’t because this is where a cancer patient needs the most support. You can’t give up. They can’t give up.”

Anyone who wants to be involved with event set up should contact Cannon in her office at 802-635-1498.