Viterbo students celebrate Relay for Life

By Jordyn McGinnity

Lumen Reporter

“Relay for Life is, I think, the most productive way to raise awareness amongst college students about can­cer and cancer research and inform them about ways to support that research,” Stephanie Kane, a senior math major from Geneseo, Ill., said at the Relay for Life La Crosse Col­leges event, which took place from 6 p.m. Feb. 24 to 6 a.m. Feb. 25.

Relay for Life events are spon­sored by the American Cancer So­ciety, and are meant to “celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease,” according to RelayforLife.org.

Although the duration of Relays can vary, the La Crosse Colleges Re­lay for Life is a 12-hour relay that will keep participants up all night listening to speakers, watching the Luminaria ceremony, spend­ing time with friends, and walking around the indoor track at the UW-La Crosse Eagles Recreation Center.

Kane, a participant in the last four Relay for Life La Crosse Colleges events, was a committee member for Relay for Life this year.

“I attend weekly meetings and was on the publicity committee,” Kane said. “I made the clothesline and put ribbons on the trees at Viter­bo to publicize the event. Otherwise, my job here at Relay involves setup and cleanup mostly.”

After being a part of the Relay for Life La Crosse Colleges since her freshman year, Kane had one thing to say about the Viterbo partici­pants: “This event runs until 6 a.m., and Viterbo students usually stay the whole time. Not everyone does.”

Although the goal is to keep members of the team walking on the track for the entire 12-hour event, there are participants who leave be­fore the event is over.

“Staying up until 6 a.m. can be a problem,” said Emily Heimer, a se­nior bio-psychology major from Ad­ams, Minn. “It takes a lot of caffeine and sugar.”

Still, Heimer believes that the experience of supporting the fight against cancer is worth staying up all night.

“I first started Relay freshman year,” Heimer said. “My friend mentioned it to me, and I’ve done it every year since then.”

She and Kane both agreed that spending all night with friends while supporting such a good cause is a lot of fun.

Heimer said that one of her rea­sons for participating in Relay for Life is her family.

“My grandpa passed away in 2009 from leukemia,” Heimer said. “He was a prostate cancer survivor before that.”

Heimer said that her grandpa was one of the people she walked for during Relay for Life.

Another Relay for Life partici­pant, Chelsey Bandoch, a junior elementary education major from Tomahawk, Wis., has her reasons for participating and her own challeng­es when it comes to Relay for Life.

“I’ve been involved in Relay for Life for about eight years,” Bandoch said. “This is my first time in col­lege, though.”

Bandoch said that her biggest problem when it comes to Relay for Life is raising money.

“I don’t like asking people for money,” Bandoch said. “Usually when I tell people the cause, they’re happy to help, but it’s still hard to ask.”

Although Relay for Life has the overall goal of raising money for cancer research, participants often set their own goals. Heimer’s goal is to walk around the track 50 times, a distance of approximately seven miles, during the 12-hour event. She kept track of the laps she had already walked by making a tally mark on her Relay shirt for every lap.

Bandoch’s goal was not to walk a set number of laps, but to partici­pate in the event.

“I wanted to be a part of the event because it kind of hits home. Doing this in support of my family is my only goal,” Bandoch said.

Greg Pizl, a junior visual commu­nications major from Antigo, Wis., was participating in Relay for Life with a special mission. He was re­cording the event.

“Relay for Life allows so many college students to show support for a great cause,” Pizl said. “I had the opportunity to show this on video to people who couldn’t be here, and I took it.”

Kaila Schoenberger, a senior bio-psychology major from St. Louis, Mo., began participating in Relay for Life her freshman year at Vit­erbo as team captain for the Pink Panthers. Since then, she has got­ten team members such as Heimer and Kane involved, and has become more involved herself.

This year, Schoenberger was the Relay for Life event co-chair, a posi­tion she said was similar to that of president.

“This is my last year as part of Relay for Life La Crosse Colleges,” Schoenberger said. “The last four years have been amazing, and I feel blessed to take part in such a great event.”

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