Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Relay for life brings USM together for a cause

Bradford Spurr

Posted on April 14, 2016 in Community
By USM Free Press

Byline Raquel Miller

The USM community played a big part raising money for cancer this past week, holding a successful Relay for Life event last Friday at the Costello Field House on the Gorham campus.  “Kicking it to Cancer” was the theme of the event,  and it changed up the Relay for Life tradition, which once consisted of an overnight community fundraising walk.

The event is a kickball tournament where teams of 8-12 people sign up at a flat rate of $100, or as an individual, can sign up for $10 as a “free agent” be placed in teams the day of the event.  

Behind the scenes, the administrative specialist of residential life, Elizabeth Bishop, is working hard to assure that everything goes smoothly for students and faculty.

“Many hours or planning, meetings, marketing and outreach to a rich community of support.” Said Bishop of the event.  We look to the USM community but also outside businesses and organizations to Sponsor and create teams. This year the community has been really fantastic as donations have come from organizations both on, and off campus.”

When asked how the devastation of cancer can take effect on the lives of our community, Bishop gave a heartfelt response.

“The statics for cancer are staggering. 1.6 million Americans will be newly diagnosed with cancer in this year alone. At the heart of this event is a connection to the fight against cancer that many people share and although we will be goofing around and having fun, this meaningful cause brings a real sense of community to the event.”

Relay for Life has been working hard nationally to bring communities together in support of raising awareness and funds to support the American Cancer Society.   It began back in May of 1985, when Relay for Life had a different name: The City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer.

The founder of the organization, Dr. Gordy Klatt spent 24 hours running and walking the track at Baker Stadium in Tacoma, Washington.  Supported by friends, family  and patients, he walked more than 83.6 miles over the course of 24 hours, raising $27,000 as his walking became publicized and donors became aware.

As he was circling the track, he started to consider ways to get others involved and one year later, 19 teams participated in a 24-hour event relay event, raising $33,00 dollars. Since then, the event has transformed into Relay for Life, taking on nationwide fundraising, and extending globally, raising five billion dollars in an effort to help save lives of those with cancer and support those affected by it.  Their ultimate goal is to help build a world without cancer and with community events like these, taking place throughout the world, every individual–every community–can make a difference.  

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