Two hundred thirty-eight students, staff and locals walked to help fight cancer at the 24 hour Relay for Life event on May 14 and 15.
More than $19,500 was raised by the 30 participating teams at Relay for Life the weekend of May 14. Some of the participating teams were the Women’s Rugby Team, The Kinesiology club and All Aboard, one of Western’s acapella groups. The relay was held at the track on the south end of Western’s campus, starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday.
A different activity or event filled each hour, including a water balloon toss, acapella performances and 2 a.m. and Zumba.
The steady flow of activities kept the event energy high despite many students walking in memory of their lost loved ones. One such student, Anjali Grutzius, lost her father at age 15 to internal melanoma.
Grutzius is the team captain of Radiating Kindness and she raised $650. “The whole reason I relay is for the future generation so they don’t have to hear that their mom or dad has cancer or a parent learning that their 5-year-old has childhood cancer,” Grutzius said.
Junior Emily Clark lost her great-grandmother to a cancerous brain tumor on May 11. “That’s my main reason [to relay], to commemorate her and her long life,” she said.
For many of the students this is the first time they’ve fundraised. Clark said she’s never done fundraising before and was a little nervous.
Several of the dorms also had teams at Relay for Life, including Birnam Wood. Their team captain, Brianna Logan, helped raise $430. Birnam Wood’s community council funded the team so that they could make T-shirts, signs and a banner. Logan organized this team for her grandmother who passed away from cancer when Logan was 13 years old.
Grutzius’ biggest tip for fundraising for the Relay for Life is to tell your friends and family about the personal connection you have with cancer.
“Having to go through the trials of going back and forth to the hospital, I didn’t really understand it as a kid and now that I do, I don’t want anyone else to have to go through that,” Grutzius said.