Jan 292012
Authors: Nicolle Fagan

If you were on campus this past week you may have seen them –– purple ribbons tied around trees and light poles. And while the actual ribbons were simple, the message behind them was so much more than that.

A student organization tied the ribbons in an effort to raise awareness for cancer. The group, Colleges Against Cancer, is a national collaboration of students, and CSU is one of many universities around the country that is devoted to the cause.

“We work closely with the American Cancer Society to try to help educate CSU on ways to prevent cancer and work to help our community fight a disease that takes millions of lives every year,” said Michelle Pearson, the president of CSU’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer.

A cancer survivor herself, Pearson said she is motivated to keep fighting cancer for those in her life that lost their battle.

“I became involved with Colleges Against Cancer as a freshman because I wanted to join a club that meant a lot and had a big impact in the community,” said Katie Ledall, a member of the organization’s entertainment committee. “I had a grandfather that passed away from lung cancer and I was personally diagnosed with a brain tumor at age nine, so the American Cancer Society is an organization that is close to my heart.”

With optimistic attitudes, the organization is pushing for a cure by not only raising public awareness of cancer, but also by raising funds to donate to the American Cancer Society. The purple awareness ribbons aren’t just to bring awareness to cancer, but also to promote their biggest event of the year: Relay for Life.

“We hope to make [the purple ribbons] a tradition, so every spring when you see the purple coming out you will know that Relay is coming up,” Ledall said.

Relay for Life is a 24-hour event where supporter and survivors can walk, and participate in other activities, to raise money and awareness.

Before the event, individuals or groups of usually eight to 15 people register to attend the fundraiser, paying an admission fee that acts as their donation. The night of the Relay, each team walks laps in celebration of survivors and the efforts of community members who volunteer and give to the cause.

Additional activities at CSU’s upcoming Relay for Life include Zumba, dodgeball and basketball tournaments, live music and giant musical chairs.

In addition to the efforts by Colleges Against Cancer, organization puts in is not possible without the sponsorships and donations from the community here in Fort Collins.

“Relay for Life is such a positive program to have at Colorado State,” said Larry Chillson Jr., the president of the Residence Hall Association, one of Relay for Life’s many sponsors. “It’s inspiring to be involved with an organization such as RHA that has showed not only monetary support for Relay for Life, but also physical support and attendance to further help the cause and the fight against cancer.”

Last year Relay for Life at CSU raised more than $51,000 for the American Cancer Society, beating UNC, DU and CU in contributions.

Relay for Life will take place April 28 and 29 in the CSU Recreation Center. For additional questions about the organization or the Relay, contact Michelle Pearson at csurelay4life@gmail.com.

Collegian writer Nicolle Fagan can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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