OCU’s Relay For Life team recently came in seventh in the nation for the Pack the Track challenge due to the increase in participants this year.
Relay For Life is the official fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, run by volunteers across the U.S. and 20 other countries. Relay is an event where team members take turns walking around a path all night to signify that “cancer doesn’t sleep.”
“Nineteen thousand people in Oklahoma will have gotten cancer in 2016. We did the math and guesstimated that that means 969 people would be affected or get cancer on our campus,” said Sarah Cason, psychology senior. “This is very relevant and more common than you would think. That’s why donating money and raising awareness is so important.”
The Pack the Track recruitment challenge is an annual challenge to encourage participants to register. Groups with the most participation win prizes. OCU ranked seventh in the nation and first in the area with a 629 percent increase in participation.
“The challenge is actually judged on percentages and not numbers so that OCU can still compete with bigger schools like OSU and OU,” Cason said. “For winning this challenge, we actually get a balloon arch that we get to display at Relay. I’m really excited for it.”
The “Fund the Mission” challenge is underway and will end Feb. 24. The challenge typically takes place all in one day, but, due to students’ busy schedules, OCU Relay For Life is hosting it for one week.
Student volunteers will man tables outside the caf all week to sell luminaria for students to decorate the Relay path. Luminaria are small paper bags that are illuminated from the inside with a candle. They can be decorated to honor a loved one who struggled with cancer.
Other upcoming fundraising events include “Give Cancer the Boot,” where students can donate money to help fill a boot with donations; “Kiss Cancer Away,” where students can tape a cut-out of lips onto a board to create a collage, and “Billy on the Street,” where OCU Relay will take over the OCU Snapchat on Feb. 24 to feature students who want to give donations.
“Relay For Life, for me, is not just a fundraiser. It’s something that everyone can be a part of,” said Evie Simons, political science senior. “My Mom had two scares where they thought she had thyroid cancer, and, though it came back negative both times, those two weeks were very scary for me when I had to start thinking, ‘am I going to have to watch my Mom get sick and her hair fall out and possibly die?’ That really made it more real for me.”
Relay For Life is from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on April 8-9.
For more information, follow OCU Relay on Twitter and Instagram @OCURelayforLife and on Facebook @RelayforLifeOCU.