There are very few people who haven’t been affected by cancer in some way. Whether we’ve experienced it first-hand or know someone who has, it’s safe to say that we know a little bit about how rough the journey is for those who have cancer and their loved ones. This is why every year during the spring semester, the students of Juniata College participate in our own Relay For Life. On April 13th from noon to midnight this year, we walked around the quad in the center of our campus as a community.
The ultimate goal of Relay For Life is to raise as many funds as possible to donate to the American Cancer Society for help with research towards potential cures. Our goal was to raise at least $28,500 to donate this year, and thanks to the help of the current student team participants, family members, friends, and Juniata community members, we reached and exceeded it!
I have always found the most beautiful part of Relay to be the support that everyone involved is willing to give. So many people happily dedicated their time and resources towards the cause. For example, a professional hairdresser came to campus in the afternoon and stayed until midnight, cutting hair for any of the girls who wanted to donate at least 8 inches towards wigs for those who have lost their hair in the process of chemo treatments. Over 400 inches were donated just in that one day. Teams came up with their own fundraising items to sell to help raise more money during the day, which involves a lot of creativity, time, and effort. Students made different kinds of mini-meals, baked goods, jewelry, decorated glasses and other crafty items. One student was selling framed butterflies from around the world that he has rehydrated and put together himself. Many of the team tables sold out of everything they had prepared, which is incredible.
Relay at JC is always especially important to me, not only because cancer has affected my own family, but also because one of my close friends on campus is a thyroid cancer survivor. She was the one to give the Survivor Speech this year, and my team and I couldn’t have been prouder of her. Immediately after her speech, she and all of the other survivors who are able to be present for Relay all do one lap around the quad together. This year, it was a group of grandparents, alum, and current students. Everyone else lined the path and clapped for them as they went by. It was a powerful statement. They survived and are still walking to kick cancer’s butt.
Relay is one of the events that makes me love the Juniata community even more. Everyone who participated in Relay did so with a huge amount of dedication and passion. Our community is one of love and support at Relay for Life, and for that, I am incredibly thankful. Cancer is a terrible disease, and it is so good to know that anyone who has suffered because of it has a huge support system right here in Huntingdon.