Walking may be an efficient form of exercise but walking to raise cancer awareness is the most rewarding. The annual Relay for Life kicks off at Bowers Stadium this Friday at 7 p.m. and runs through 7 a.m. the next morning.
Relay for Life is an overnight event that raises money for the American Cancer Society and celebrates cancer survivors.
The event is designed to help and empower people who are fighting and surviving cancer and remember those who lost their battle with it.
Teams of six-15 people walk the track inside Bowers Stadium, keeping one team member on the track at all times. The last Relay for Life meeting for team captains is today in room 315 of the Lowman Student Center, but teams can register until the very start of the relay at 7 p.m. Friday.
Sophomore Brad Basker is sponsoring a team for the second time, along with 10 of his friends.
“When I started last year, I wanted to participate in an event that was selfless, not about me,” Basker said. “As time passed, I realized how many people’s lives have been affected by cancer and this is now something I’m going to do every year.”
According to the national Relay for Life Web site, over 3.5 million Americans participate in this event each year. At Sam Houston State University, dozens of teams are being fielded by a diverse group of students and organizations, including the Society of Physics Students, Tau Beta Sigma and Tri Sigma.
Relay for Life begins with the Luminaria Ceremony. Each Luminaria, a decorative bag with a candle inside, is lit in honor of someone who lost the battle with cancer, someone who survived it or someone who is currently fighting the disease. The name of each person is prominently displayed in front of their Luminaria.
“At the Relay for Life meetings, you can sign up to sponsor a Luminaria,” Basker said. “It costs five dollars to sponsor a Luminaria, and it can be for yourself or for someone you know.”
In addition to the all-night walking marathon, Relay for Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. There is a $100 registration fee for each team and each team member is encouraged to raise $100.
Basker’s team solicited credit card donations online and some team members went door to door raising money.
“We made it easy for people to give,” Basker said. “Once the money is collected, it can be turned in early or at the beginning of the event.”
This community-wide event has the goal of raising $25,000 for cancer research, education and patient services.