By Megan Nadeau, Staff Writer

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Relay for Life attendees from last year.
(Courtesy of Lauren Kennison)

Students at UMF kick into high gear in preparation for Relay for Life in hopes of raising at least $20,000 this year for the American Cancer Society.

   Relay for Life is a fundraising event that is organized and held overnight in UMF’s Fitness and Recreation Center.  Teams of students and community members take turns walking around the track throughout the night in order to raise money for the cause.

   Lauren Kennison, a junior and co-chair of the Relay for Life Organization at UMF, has high hopes for this year’s outcome.  “This is my third year of doing Relay for Life,” said Kennison in an online interview, “I feel like it is a way for me to make a HUGE impact on this disease that affects so many of us.”

  The Relay team is hoping to raise more money than last year’s Relay event, increasing from close to $18,000 to over $20,000.  They also hope to raise the number of teams they have registered, from 22 to over 25.

   “The fundraising is done through team and individual efforts,” said Kennison.  “It is great to have a whole team at the event so that you can win spirit points, support the cause, and have time to reflect on how cancer has had an effect on you and your life.”

  Alyssa Carignan, a junior at UMF is excited about participating in Relay for Life for the first time this year. “I’ve always wanted to participate in Relay for Life, but I never knew enough information about what it was or was or how to participate,” said Carignan. “This year I’m excited to be able to be involved. It’s for a really good cause and I’m glad I get to be a part of it this year.”

   Through Relay for Life at UMF, students are able to remember those they have lost to cancer and support those who are still fighting today through ceremonies hosted throughout the night during the Relay. “There is also a Luminaria Ceremony which takes place at midnight, and it is a time to remember people we have lost to cancer, honor people who have fought cancer in the past, and support those whose fight continues,” said Kennison.  “The Fight Back Ceremony empowers and inspires participants to take action against cancer.”

   Emily Higgins, a junior at UMF and Secondary Education major, is a returning Relay for Life participant and is excited for this year’s event. “I think it’s a great cause, and I think it really helps out with fundraising and the people that are affected by cancer,” Higgins said.

   With Relay for Life sign ups in full swing, the Relay Team encourages students to sign up as soon as possible if they want to participate.

   “I strongly suggest you register before March 1st.  However, you can register online up until the day before the event (April 11th) and you can register on-site the day of the event,” said Kennison.

   Relay for Life here at UMF is being held on Friday April 12 at 9 p.m. to Saturday, April 13 at 6 a.m.