Skip to Content

Campus Relay for Life Raises $15,000 to Support Cancer Research

Paper bags were scattered across the Siebert Hall lawn on Sunday, each symbolizing an individual who had succumbed to cancer.

More than 100 individuals gathered to illuminate candles within these bags and adorn them with uplifting illustrations as part of the annual Relay for Life organized by the American Cancer Society Buckeye chapter. The event, which had been on hiatus since 2019 due to the pandemic, successfully raised over $15,000 this year, with all proceeds allocated towards advancing cancer research.

Rahaf Shalash, the lead organizer of the Relay for Life event and a member of the Buckeye chapter, emphasized the collective impact of the community’s efforts in combating cancer. Reflecting on the event, Shalash, a third-year student majoring in human nutrition, stated, “Every step taken and every dollar raised contributes to the American Cancer Society’s comprehensive fight against cancer. While each of us has a distinct motivation for participating, our common goal unites us: to make a meaningful difference in the battle against cancer.”

Participants engaged in a dual lap around the lawn, dedicating the first lap to survivors and the second to supporters and caregivers. Throughout the event, cancer survivors, including Brenda George, a thyroid cancer survivor turned advocate for cancer research as a Voice of Hope Speaker with the American Cancer Society, shared their personal journeys of resilience.

George, in her address to the attendees, underscored the necessity of perseverance and unity in the fight against cancer. She remarked, “Championing the cause for a world free of cancer demands strength, courage, time, financial support, and sacrifices, akin to the resilience required to conquer the disease itself. It is an achievable feat.”

Before commencing the walk, George imparted words of encouragement and motivation to the participants, emphasizing the inner strength and determination essential for overcoming adversities. She inspired, “Though you may feel vulnerable today, the flame within you—your passion, your resolve, your fortitude, your bravery—especially during the most daunting moments, will ignite the spirit within you, empowering you to transcend your current circumstances and face the future with optimism and anticipation of brighter days ahead.”

Navigating the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 crisis, Isabelle Castillo-Anderson, a senior development manager at the American Cancer Society, highlighted the Buckeye chapter’s struggles in rekindling momentum. Nonetheless, a new cohort of dedicated students rose to the occasion, actively promoting the event through fundraising, networking, and compassionate initiatives such as crafting blankets for cancer patients.

Castillo-Anderson noted the significance of the event in providing a platform for participants to commemorate, support, resist, and pay tribute to those lost to cancer. Yusuf Rasheed, a third-year biology student and president of the Buckeye chapter, emphasized the sense of community fostered by the event, uniting individuals impacted by cancer in a collective stand against the disease.

Rasheed rallied the participants, stating, “Our shared purpose unites us all. Let us come together over the next few hours to combat our common adversary, cancer, as a cohesive community.”

These profound motivations underscore why the group transcends mere physical activity, encapsulating a deeper purpose that goes beyond a simple walk, as articulated by the organizers.