April 14, 2011
Last year's Relay for Life of UT raised $65,000 for cancer research. This year's event is expected to exceed last year's efforts.
Every year for almost a decade, Samantha Lauf ’12 has participated in
the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, a 16-hour walk through the
Every year, Lauf walks the track behind the survivors,
with the group composed of caregivers. And every year, she lights a
candle during the Luminaria Ceremony, honoring her father, Eric, who
died nearly 10 years ago from lung cancer.
“I get so overjoyed
and exalted during Relay for Life events,” said Lauf, an elementary
education major. “I think Relay healed me. Through the years it has
helped me to grieve through it all. Now it’s a celebration of life.”
is the student chairwoman for UT’s Relay for Life event on April 15.
There are 51 teams registered with more than 716 participants who will
start walking around the intramural field by the stadium at 6 p.m.
Friday night, continuing until 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
half hour different activities will keep the crowd entertained, from a
giant dodge ball game to a drag contest, where a male from each team
dresses up to symbolize how women feel outside their own skin during
Dean of Students Bob Ruday, who has been cancer-free
since July 2008, will give the cancer survivor’s speech, and there will
be a survivors’ lap and a Luminaria Ceremony to honor and remember those
who have lost their lives to cancer. Booths around the field will sell
everything from food to apparel to henna designs as additional
fundraisers for the American Cancer Society.
So far the teams
have raised more than $40,800, nearing their $65,000 goal. Fundraising
takes place both prior to and during the event, and proceeds go toward
cancer research and outpatient care.
“If you can give back, why
not do something incredible?” Lauf said. This year, she will be joined
by her mother and two of her brothers who are flying in from Washington,
D.C., to walk on her father’s birthday. He would have turned 57 on
Lucy Monette ’11 also knows what it is like to lose a
parent to lung cancer. Her mother, Kathy Rowley, died in 2009. When the
American Cancer Society looked to UT to form its own Relay event,
Monette didn’t hesitate to lead the effort. She advertised on campus and
held her breath for the first planning meeting in 2008. Lauf was one of
the only two people who showed up.
Since then, the ladies have
seen the event grow from just three organizers to 30 on this year’s
committee. Last year they aimed for $40,000 and raised $65,000. This
year, they have full confidence in surpassing $65,000.
Relay for Life of UT
is unique to our community events because it is completely student led
and supported,” said Susanna Doyle, community representative for the
American Cancer Society’s Greater Tampa Unit. “The students have done an
amazing job over the last three years, and their efforts have taken
them to the No. 1 ranked collegiate event in the Tampa Bay area."
Monette graduates with her psychology degree, she wants to work in art
therapy, facilitating group therapy through painting. Lauf’s goal is to
run a center for kids to have a consistent place to go to while their
parents are undergoing cancer treatment. Both say that Relay for Life
will always be a part of their lives, and they both feel an urgency to
never waste a day.
“I’m 20, (Lucy) is 22, and we’ve impacted the world in some way,” Lauf said. “And we’re not done yet.”
Jamie Pilarczyk, Web Writer
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