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Published: April 01, 2014
At last year’s event, Mackenzie Crowley ’13 said if her UT Sociology Club met its fundraising goals, she’d shave her head.
At last year’s event, Mackenzie Crowley ’13 said if her UT Sociology Club met its fundraising goals, she’d shave her head.

There are many reasons UT students participate in Relay for Life, and most of those reasons have a face.

“At the very first organizational meeting for the year we ask people to raise their hands if they’ve been touched by cancer,” said Erin McDonald ’14, nursing major and Relay event chair. “Without fail almost every single hand goes up. This is why we do it.”

McDonald is leading a team of close to 30 students who are organizing the biggest student-led fundraising event on campus. UT Relay for Life was started by Samantha Lauf ’12 and Lucy Monette ’11, who hosted in 2009 raising $30,000. Since then, UT’s Relay has consistently raised and surpassed its annual fundraising goals. Last year the goal was $80,000, and they raised $83,000. This year the goal is $90,000.

“Last year I was impacted so much by Relay,” said Brittany Grennan ’15, a marketing major who is a 14-year cancer survivor and will be giving the survivor’s speech at Saturday’s event. “It was a touching experience, and it helped me realize how blessed and lucky I am.”

About 700 people have signed up to participate though organizers expect close to 1,000 for the 18-hour event held at the Art and Polly Pepin Stadium from noon April 5 to 6 a.m. April 6. Participants are likely to dress up in Disney attire as the theme is “Wish Upon a Cure.”

Relay for Life is the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. During the event, participants camp out at the site, typically a track or intramural field. At least one person from each team must be walking at all times. Relays are held throughout the year across the U.S. and in countries all over the world, with proceeds going toward cancer research and outpatient care.

“This is my second year being involved with Relay,” said Donny Murray ’16, a marketing and financial enterprise systems double major serving as the event’s logistics chair. “I was ready to be part of the solution.”

Arielle Baker ’14, advertising and public relations major with a minor in communication, said she participates in Relay for her family, which has been touched by cancer on both her mother and her father’s side.

“I hope students come out and really enjoy themselves at this event as the entire committee has worked hard to see it happen, but I also hope that everyone understands the seriousness of why we work so hard,” said Baker, of Middlesex, NJ. “We are a group of students trying to aid in a huge change, and we want others to realize there is love and appreciation in their attendance to UT’s Relay for Life.”

Have a story idea? Contact Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer 
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