For those who have never heard of it, Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising activity. It is a way for the members in the community to give back by raising funds to enable the ACS to continue its worldwide movement to end cancer. It is an all night event where teams come together to celebrate the survivors, remember those who lost their battle with cancer and fight back against this disease.
The ACS not only hosts events in communities and cities, but is also present on college campuses. Relay is hosted annually at our university and Relay For Life at Georgia Tech could not be possible without support from our campus.
But what is discouraging is the low numbers of participants from the Tech community. Our neighbors up the road in Athens have earned their spot as the number one Relay in the United States by consistently performing impressively, raising more than $420,000 last year alone. Why are we allowing them that title? They continuously raise funds and come together as a campus to unite and fight this fight. Relay is one of their campus’ number one organizations. We need to follow their example. Participation from both the students and the faculty is crucial and it is only possible with each person’s help.
It starts with one person and the creation of a team. One person can make a difference. This is evident with the story of Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon and the person who envisioned Relay back in May of 1985 when he spent 24 hours circling the track at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma. The first year nearly 300 of Klatt’s close friends, family and patients witnessed his walk. Throughout the 24-hour period friends donated $25 apiece to run or walk with him for 30 minutes and his efforts raised $27,000.
How fitting this story is that it began on a college campus and how encouraging this should be to us, the students of the Tech to come together as a community to support this fund. I know that the students of Tech possess passion, motivation and effort. You are here, at a top university recognized all over the world. I believe that if some of that effort could be made to support a campus movement like Relay that we would witness a positive change in numbers, support and success for this event.
It is time for us to step up and raise the bar. I am sure that this would make a huge impact on our school and our community.
Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer. If it is not your immediate family member, it is a friend or a friend’s friend or family member. This disease has caused enough devastation, and now it is time to find a cure. It is time for us to fight back. If our country has the capability of going to the moon, surely we can find a cure for cancer.
Many of you do not believe that you can make a difference, but suppose each person at Tech gave a dollar to fund research. Now take a minute to think about how much money that would generate. Imagine the difference we would make to the cause as a unified body.
Cancer does not discriminate. It has touched the lives of everyone around us; let us come together to touch the lives of those who have survived, are currently fighting and who will soon receive the news that they are a cancer patient. Let us bring about change on Tech’s campus participation in this event and let us come together to fight for a cause we all hold dear to our hearts.
As Erin Sentell, the overall director for this year’s Relay for Life stated, “We all know someone who has battled cancer. Because cancer is indiscriminate and could affect any one of us, it is important for everyone to work together to fight back by raising money for a cure.”
Who is on board?
Anna Elliott is a MGT student at Tech and the Marketing Director for Relay for Life GT, an organization on campus dedicated to fundraising for cancer research.