Students to relay a message of hope


Students to relay a message of hope


By Annie Augustine
Friday, April 20, 2007

This weekend, 35 cancer survivors will join nearly 1,000 UCLA students and community members for a 24-hour relay to raise money for the disease.

UCLA's Relay For Life is planned to take place in Drake Stadium from Saturday at 1 p.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. Ninety-six teams have signed up, and participants will include UCLA students, students from L.A. high schools and Westwood community members.

At UCLA's Relay For Life, the survivors who are attending will walk or run alongside participants.

Brittany Maxwell, the mission delivery director for UCLA's Relay For Life, said the relay's opening ceremony will encourage and motivate participants.

"A cancer survivor is planning to speak before the relay begins and survivors will walk the first lap around the stadium while all other participants stand inside the track to cheer them on," she said

Eric Lam, a first-year mechanical engineering student who started Relay For Life at his high school and is the captain of two UCLA teams this year, said being involved in Relay For Life is a fun way to help a good cause.

"At the ceremony you get to meet survivors and it is inspirational to watch them take the first lap," he said.

Teams will spend the entire night in Drake Stadium with the goal of keeping one person from each team on the track at all times.

The American Cancer Society's annual Relay For Life began because of the efforts of one man. According to the Relay For Life Web site, Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon from Tacoma, Wash., wanted to increase the income of his local American Cancer Society office. In May of 1985, Klatt spent 24 hours circling a track at the University of Puget Sound, covering more than 83 miles and raising nearly $27,000.

The following year, 19 teams took part in the first Relay For Life event and raised nearly $33,000.

Now more than 3.5 million people partake in 4,800 Relay For Life events nationwide each year, and in 2006, the UCLA Relay For Life raised over $60,000.

According to the Web site, the purpose of Relay For Life is to celebrate cancer survivors, honor those who have lost their lives to the disease, and raise money to help fight it.

"I had a couple of chances to participate in high school, but never actually did. I just thought that this would be a good opportunity and the people on my (residence hall) floor encouraged me," said Alex Yang, a first-year undeclared student.

Maxwell said each participant is encouraged to raise $100 before Saturday. All participants who raise $100 will be given free food and T-shirts at the relay.

Yaoyao Wang, a first-year undeclared student, said she used Facebook to help raise funds.

"After fundraising for Dance Marathon, I couldn't ask my parents' friends for more money. I created a Facebook group to get donations from students," she said.

Several bands, including Mikey G and Dan from Danville, will be performing at the relay. Maxwell also said there will be a variety of games for teams to participate in throughout the night.

Relay For Life will be held at many schools around the country this weekend, including Virginia Tech. In a statement released by Mary Vaughn Smith, the event chair for Relay For Life at Virginia Tech, said the school would hold the event despite Monday's shootings.

"We've decided to move forward with the Relay For Life because this is a time when we just want to make sure that this event - with a focus on celebration of life and hope - is available to all those who need it in our community," she said.

Many colleges throughout the country have posted encouraging messages on the "Relay For Life at Virginia Tech Forum."


Original Source:<a href=>The Daily Bruin - April 20, 2007</a>


Annie Augustine


The Daily Bruin




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Annie Augustine , “Students to relay a message of hope,” The April 16 Archive, accessed March 1, 2024,