In the fall of 2014, the Colleges Against Cancer Organization (CAC) at Utica College was officially established. I have been involved in the club from the very first meeting and it’s something that I hold very near and dear to my heart. Thank God, I have never had a loved one affected by cancer. However, I have friends whose family members have been affected. After hearing countless stories of hope, survival and loss as a CAC club member, I have made it a passion of mine to raise awareness about this disease and raise money to help find a cure.
There is power in numbers, so the more people I can encourage to get involved, the better. The main focus of CAC is to plan, organize and host a Relay For Life event every year, which is the American Cancer Society’s most profitable fundraiser. Funds raised go towards cancer awareness, education and advocacy as well as providing wigs, transportation and overnight lodging for cancer patients going through treatment.
Last year was Utica College’s first ever Relay For Life event, and it raised more than $21,000.
Throughout the course of the year, CAC hosts many events such as The Great American Smoke-Out, which encourages people to quit smoking. That event takes place in November, which is lung cancer awareness month.
The premise of Relay, for people that don’t know, is that people form a team, a lot of times in honor of someone who has battled cancer, and each team raises money for the American Cancer Society through fundraisers and activities at Relay.
Relay itself is like a big party. Some Relay events run for 24 hours straight, others for 12. But regardless, the events are overnight. “Cancer doesn’t sleep so neither will we,” is a common saying related to Relay. UC’s Relay begins at 6 p.m. and continues until 6 a.m. the following morning.
At Relay, there are bands playing, games and activities, themed laps and every single team has a booth. It’s such a fun event and such an amazing cause. Not only do you have the opportunity to raise money and have a great time, but you get to hear stories of amazing bravery from people in your community. Their passion and appreciation for what you’re doing at Relay is plenty of motivation to keep you going all night and once you experience that you won’t be able to get enough.
If you’re interested in joining CAC, stop by a meeting! We meet Thursday nights at 8:30 p.m. in Boehlert Conference Room and love to hear fresh, new ideas for Relay. If you want to make a Relay team or join a team, just visit relayforlife.org/uticacollegeNY.
Hope to see you at Relay, in the Dome on April 8!