Students, alumni join Relay for Life, raise thousands

With 900 registered participants and over 100 walk-ins, Tech’s annual Relay for Life pressed on despite the ominous tornado clouds formed around Atlanta.

By the time the event began, $48,000 had already been raised towards a goal of $75,000. In the opening ceremony, Bill Todd, MGT ‘71, pledged to match the money raised by the event dollar for dollar.

“I am so proud of Tech,” Todd said, “because students came out here on a Friday night to promote [cancer] awareness and I am proud of the robust research projects in process on campus that aim to discover new methods for prevention and treatment.”

After the opening ceremony, cancer survivors took the first lap with their family members and friends. The survivors’ ages ranged from middle-aged to the surprisingly youthful.

A band fronted by Tech student Brooks Tellekamp played for the first hour, happy to be contributing to such a great cause. From about 7:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m., participants enjoyed food eating contests, poker tournaments, tie-dying T-shirts, board games and watching a Braves game.

Each group had a member walking for every one of the 12 scheduled laps. A dunk booth had been planned with GT Parking, but had to be cancelled due to the weather.

A research poster was on display entitled “Advanced Translational Cancer Bioinformatic Tools for Personalized Oncology.”

The objectives of the project were to find highly sensitive cancer biomarkers, quantify molecular image data, study therapeutics and manage and visualize the acquired data. The research is being conducted in the Bio-MIB lab in cooperation with the BME departments of Tech and Emory University.

Tech’s own Relay event chair, Mallory Necessary, has been involved with the event for seven years.

“[Relay is] something I’m really passionate about. I’m hooked. I’ll be doing this until I’m 45,” she said. Although Necessary has devoted much time and effort to coordinating this year’s event, she didn’t want all the credit.

“My executive board has been phenomenal,” she said, “but it’s not even about our group, it’s about so many other people. Relay is for the survivors and the people who will get cancer. It’s for the research.”

Dana Lupuloff, logistics chair, had to relocate the event to the CRC because of tornado warnings. “This event puts things in perspective,” Lupuloff said. “You recognize the struggle these people went through and you realize it’s about remembrance.”