Annual Relay for Life raises money for cancer research

SVSU’s Relay for Life was held in the Ryder Center’s O’Neill Arena from 2 p.m. to midnight on Feb. 8.

Relay for Life is an annual fundraising event coordinated by Colleges Against Cancer to raise money for cancer research and people battling cancer.

Alyssa Zettle, a secondary education sophomore, is the co-secretary of SVSU’s Colleges Against Cancer.

“Relay for Life of SVSU is an annual event that takes place to raise money for the American Cancer Society,” Zettle said. “At the event, there are several teams that participate and fundraise. All of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society, and the money raised is used for cancer research and to support those who are battling cancer.”

For Zettle, cancer has impacted her family and makes this event particularly close to her heart.

“I have had two family members pass away from cancer, my aunt and my grandpa,” she said. “I saw them fight to the end and, despite how bad their situation was, they both kept their spirit up and never gave up. They were the reasons I began participating in Relay for Life, but now I continue to fight for all of those who have been touched by the disease and those who have not yet begun their battle”

According to Zettle, Relay for Life is an important event for many.

“Cancer touches everyone, whether they’re battling the disease or supporting someone who is battling,” Zettle said. “It is important to raise money for the American Cancer Society so one day we can live in a world without cancer and hopefully find a cure.”

There were many fundraising booths at the event, including a cup painting booth put on by the Student Social Work Organization. Shelby Haven, a social work senior and the vice president of the organization, believes it was important for the organization to be involved.

“All of us decided that it was a really good cause to put money in, and we hope to find a cure for everybody,” Haven said. “Also, as a social work organization, educating people about different countries and letting them show their artistic abilities through painting was something we wanted to do.”

According to Haven, those close to her have suffered from cancer, and it’s something everyone deals with.

“I lost my grandpa to cancer, and my uncle has had skin cancer,” Haven said. “Last year, a friend of mine passed away the day before I came to Relay. So, it has hit me pretty hard, and I think a lot of us could say we have a reason why we’re here.”

Another one of the fundraisers was a booth hosted by Alpha Sigma Alpha where students could donate money and get a plant or candy.

Samantha Miller, a member of the sorority and a special education senior, came to the event because, like many, her life has been affected by cancer.

“I came because I lost my nana when I was 15, and my aunt Barbie just underwent chemo this year,” Miller said. “My goal for the event is to raise as much money as possible and have a good time.”

There were many other groups raising money for the cause, and some performances by SVSU groups, including Cardinal Rhythm, Encore and Work N’ Progress.

The highlight of the event was the Luminaria Ceremony, a 10-minute moment of silence honoring those who had dealt with cancer.

Reporting by Shelby Mott, Vanguard Reporter

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