Relay for Life commemorates survivors, victims of cancer


The Appalachian Online

Chamian Cruz

Students and community members gathered at Appalachian State University’s Kidd Brewer Stadium from 6 p.m. on Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday in support of Relay for Life.

The all-night, ‘80s-themed event brought together people in remembrance of those who have lost the battle to cancer, to celebrate survivors and to raise money for the American Cancer Society in support of cancer research.

“I think everybody has been affected by cancer, so this is just a good way for everybody to get involved and take a stand and raise money for it,” said Angel Mathis, sophomore nutrition and foods major and committee member of Relay for Life.

A total of 10 sponsors, 43 registered teams, 1,097 participants and about 10 survivors came together last night to help raise $30,191 at the end of the night, compared to the $20,000 that was raised last year, according to Relay for Life of Appalachian State University.

Nicole Kadosh, freshman biology major, raised the most money out of all the participants at $1,435 for Relay for Life. Alpha Gamma Delta, with a team of 76 members, raised a total of $6,690.

The event began with opening ceremonies, where Cora Bryk – a girl who was diagnosed with Leukemia at four-years-old – was introduced. Soon after, the survivors were recognized by taking the first lap around the field.

“[Bryk] has been going to Winston-Salem to have treatments for a year now,” Mathis said. “You always hear about children that have cancer, but then just to see a face and her being that young and still pushing through is amazing. This whole event is just great for people like that.”

As the night went on, participants also enjoyed live entertainment from bands, a drag show, a quidditch game, zumba, yoga and even an early DJ Dance Party from 3-5 a.m. Teams of different organizations also set up tables with activities to raise money for Relay for Life.

“It’s a cause that means a lot to us individually and this was a really good way to get involved as a club,” said Evea Kaldas, graduate industrial and organizational psychology and human resource management major. “It’s really cool to be a part of something that can unite your club and also to have fun and be creative with your fundraiser.”

Kaldas was one of the 10 team members of the Society for Human Resource Management team, which raised $390. SHRM raised money at Relay for Life by selling coffee and baked potatoes.

At around 9 p.m., paper bags with a candle inside surrounded the football field and on the bleachers to spell out “hope,” as part of the Luminaria Ceremony.

“[The paper bags] have people’s names that have either lost their lives to cancer or survived cancer,” Mathis said. “It’s just a time to commemorate.”

Participants then walked around the field in silence to remember and honor their loved ones who have lost the battle to cancer and those who are still fighting the disease, with hope that someday a cure will be found.

Story: Chamian Cruz, News Reporter