SMU Celebrates a Decade of Relay for Life in April

Relay For Life comes back to the Boulevard for its 10th year on Friday, April 12, 2013. This year’s event theme, “Cheers to 100 Years of More Birthdays,” recognizes the centennials being celebrated by both SMU and the American Cancer Society. Together they will celebrate the lives saved during those 100 years and set a goal to finish the fight and find a cure in the next 100 years.

SMU student and Relay for Life Director of Communications Taylor Lack says she relays because “come this October, I will be 13 years cancer-free. I look forward to celebrating many more healthy birthdays in my life.”

Friday activities kick off at 5 p.m., with the opening ceremony scheduled for 6 p.m., including both a survivors and caregivers lap at 6:30 p.m. The traditional luminaria ceremony is at 9 p.m., in which lanterns are lit in memory or honor of a person with cancer. (Luminarias can be purchased prior to the event.) Each is personalized with a name, photo, message or drawing. A Fight Back ceremony at midnight recognizes the emotional commitment the fight against cancer entails, not only for the patients but also loved ones and communities.

The 24-hour relay comes to a close at 5 a.m. It’s a time to celebrate and remember the commitment participants made to continue the fight all year long.

There will be a survivors’ dinner on Thursday, Mar. 21, as well as during the event. The dinner is at Gordon Biersch, and survivors on campus can contact Alex Philipson for more information.

In addition to remembering and honoring the fight against cancer, Relay for Life helps to raise money for the American Cancer Society. “It is thanks to the selfless work of ACS, and the money raised by events like Relay, that cancer patients are surviving and thriving,” Lack says.

Last year SMU RFL raised $140,000; this year’s goal is $158,000. The SMU group has raised $55,753.42 thus far. The 2012-13 Relay for Life Board is the top fund-raising team with $21,823.01; Kappa Alpha Theta follows with $10,240 and Pi Beta Phi rounds out the top three teams with $7,325 raised.

Relay for Life began in Tacoma, Washington, due to the initiative of one man, Dr. Gordy Klatt. In May 1985, he ran a track for 24 hours and with the support of his friends, family and the community raised $27,000. Relay for Life is now the largest nonprofit activity in the world; it takes place in more than 20 countries and has raised more than $4 billion to fight cancer.

For more information or to donate to the cause visit the Relay for Life site or SMU RFL Facebook.

- Kelsey Reynolds

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