Apr 252010
 
Authors: Veronica Jenssen

Birthday balloons, banners and cake decorated the Moby Arena over the weekend as participants of the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life fought back against cancer and helped increase the number of birthdays seen around the world.

“The American Cancer Society is the official sponsor of birthdays, so our goal is to see more birthdays celebrated,” said Kati Ledall, team development chair and sophomore human development and family studies major. “That is why we decorated the arena with a birthday theme.”

The Relay For Life is a worldwide event that has been in operation for 26 years. The relay raises money from donations, which is used to help find cures to cancer and help treat patients with cancer. 

CSU joined the Relay For Life four years ago and has been increasing its contribution to the cause every year.

“The first year we hosted the event, we had five teams participate,” Ledall said. “This year we have 62 teams participating.”

The vast growth of the relay at CSU was made possible by the help of the planning committee, which is run by CSU students, said Scott Dishong, executive director for American Cancer Society of Northern Colorado.

“The event is put on due to an amazing collaboration of students,” Dishong said. “This relay would not have been possible without all their hard work.”

More than 590 participants came to the Moby Arena Saturday night to help raise money and awareness about cancer. The participants from CSU and around the Fort Collins community walked laps around the arena for 12 hours, from 8 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday.

“It is really cool to see everyone from the community coming together for the same goal,” said Annie Maggard, an anthropology graduate student,

Maggard raised more than $1,700, which made her the top participant in the relay.  This was the first time she had participated in the event.

“I did the Relay For Life this year because in the past year I have had two people that are really close to me battle cancer,” Maggard said.

Maggard’s grandfather Frenchie Maggard passed away last year after battling Mesothelioma. In that same year Maggard’s friend and fellow CSU graduate student battled testicular cancer and survived.

“Everyone knows someone who has been touched by cancer,” said Betsey Haight, senior and team captain for the Kappa Delta sorority. “Many of the girls in our sorority, including myself, either have parents or grandparents who have battled cancer.”

Kappa Delta was the top group at the relay, raising more than $3,500 for the cause.

“We are unsure of the total number because we are also fundraising on site with a raffle for a night at the Hilton,” Haight said.

The night’s events would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the donations given by sponsors, Ledall said. 

The relay was given a grant of $3,000 from the Residence Hall Association. Chipotle, Papa John’s and Krazy Karl’s provided pizza and burritos for participants. The goal for CSU was to earn $33,500 in donations this year, which it surpassed by earning more than $46,000 in donations. 

“CSU has one of the top two college relays in the state,” Dishong said. “They have really come a long way in just four years.”

The money the CSU relay earned for the American Cancer Society will be used to fund research nationwide, including research done at CSU. CSU has received more than $3 million from the American Cancer society to help find cures for cancer.

Staff writer Veronica Jenssen can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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