Apr 292012
Authors: Bailey Constas

Survivors, students and superheroes joined together in sleeplessness Saturday night and Sunday morning in a nonstop 14-hour relay for cancer.

The fundraiser, called Relay for Life, collected $36,824 in donations to the American Cancer Society’s programs, patients and research, according to event organizers. Michelle Pearson, a senior biomedical sciences major and the relay’s committee chairwoman, said money was still coming in as of Sunday afternoon.

CSU students have organized the annual event four times, and this year’s theme was superheroes. Pearson has been involved for two years, motivated by her personal experience with cancer.

“Personally, I was diagnosed with brain cancer when I was in sixth grade,” she said. “I’ve dealt with it and known family and friends who have passed away.”

“It’s hard to watch other people not make it. We all relay for hope.”

The event took a year of planning and donations. In past years, there have been 600 to 700 participants, but this year there were 553.

“It’s organized chaos,” Pearson said. “Teams switch off, but one person from each time has to be on the track at all times … but we keep people entertained.”

Entertainment for the participants included other activities like Zumba, dodgeball and basketball tournaments, costume judging and even a drag show occurred throughout the night.

“We’re much more organized this year, but I’d like the turn out to be nicer,” Pearson said.

Atisha Morrison, freshman environmental health major has relayed for six years, but this year has been the most personal for her.

“My (Resident Assistant’s) father has six to nine months to live,” Morrison said. “My RA is going to lose her father, so we decided to make a (relay) team.”

Being from a small town in New Mexico, Morrison has only been to smaller relays. Attending the CSU relay with a few hundred participants has been a big step up for her.

“Getting involved is definitely important, even if cancer hasn’t affected you personally just reaching out to people you know. You never know when your best friends dad or boyfriend’s uncle is suffering,” Morrison said. “Families are going through this and they need support and just saying I’m here for you, what do you need.

“I’m so honored that so many college students are out here instead of drinking on a Saturday night.”

Students from the Dean’s Student Leadership Council created a team and dressed as The Incredibles for their spring service event in support of two survivors on their council.

According to Audrey McMahon, a CSU junior business major, the council has been fundraising since October for the relay and raised $3,500.

“It’s important to be involved because even if you don’t have cancer, everyone in some way has been affected by cancer,” said Brian Stewart, a DSLC participant and junior business major. “We get to have fun, bond, and make money.”

Greek students, including those from Sigma Iota Epsilon, also relayed together as a team.

“(Relay for Life) has obviously affected peoples lives and we’re here to raise money and hopefully raise a cure,” said Tamlyn Grott, a junior accounting and finance major.

Collegian writer Bailey Constas can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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