Observer-Dispatch: Relay for Life at Utica College raises over $20,000

OD 04-13-19 Relay for Life at UC

Photo Courtesy of Alex Cooper / Observer-Dispatch

Liz Gabel, Casey Hourican and Peter Gaughan, the main student organizers of the Relay for Life at Utica College, each have had family members with cancer.

“Before I was born my grandfather died of cancer, and I just learned about it my junior year of high school when my uncle was diagnosed,” Gabel said.

“My dad died ... he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer because of 9/11,” Hourican said. “He was diagnosed in July of 2011 and he passed in June of 2012.”

“I actually never got to meet my grandmother because she was a breast cancer survivor, and then got cancer again and sadly didn’t win the fight the second time,” Gaughan said. “This matters so much to me because the American Cancer Society helped my mom when she was going through (cancer) treatment, and I know they’ve helped plenty of other people.”

Stories like these were the main driver behind the fifth annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Utica College on Saturday, where more than 200 students, faculty and staff circled through the on-campus Hutten Sports Dome.

The event was scheduled to run for 12 hours — beginning at 6 p.m. Saturday and ending at 6 a.m. Sunday.

Unlike other cancer research fundraisers, this event was entirely run by students from the Colleges Against Cancer club.

“We’re students,” Gabel said, “and we care about this disease just as much as anybody else. Just because we’re in college doesn’t mean we put the real world aside.”

Last year the event raised roughly $20,000. As of when the event started Saturday, Gaughan said they had already passed that amount this year.

The relay officially began with a lap from a group of cancer survivors holding a banner. After, other participants started walking the track.

Jessica Skeldon and her husband, Max Gottfried, were halfway through another lap around 7 p.m. Saturday. Skeldon works at UC, and she and a few other coworkers participated, she said, because they thought the event would be fun.

But it also had significance to her and her husband: Both of Skeldon’s grandmothers had cancer, and Gottfried’s mom died of breast cancer.


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