KSU Pulls an All Nighter: Relay for Life
By Tori McCrite
Friday, April 12, KSU hosted its 2nd annual Relay for Life event on the campus green. This 12-hour extravaganza, hosted by the American Cancer Society, was a night full of fun from the opening ceremony at 7 p.m. until the closing ceremony at 7 a.m.
Last year, Haley Carson and Laura Stewart co-chaired the first KSU Relay for Life, as Stewart was fighting cancer.
Stewart was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 15 and battled the disease for 5 years until October 2012 when she passed away. However, Carson believes that cancer did not win the fight.
Last year, Carson stated that she was involved with Relay because “both Laura and I’s lives have been affected by cancer. With Relay [for Life], we wanted our dream of seeing the entire campus standing together and fighting against cancer to come true.”
This statement still holds true today. Though Stewart is no longer with us, her legacy will continue to be one of the driving forces behind KSU’s fight against cancer.
“Though Laura can’t be present with us physically, her spirit is here,” Carson exclaimed during the Relay for Life’s opening ceremony.
Throughout the night, Carson spoke passionately about Stewart’s contagious joy and her life that still influences many today.
Many months prior to the event, participating teams began advocating for the all- nighter by raising money and preparing their booths for the event.
More than 30 organizations were involved in Relay for Life this year. Each team had their own tent set up around the Campus Green where they offered various games to play and goods to buy in order to help continue fundraising during the night.
“My favorite part of the night was seeing all the different parts of the community come together for one cause,” said Fred Castro, a senior communication major.
The Fighting Flowers Relay group, led by Erica Loughmiller, is associated with KSU House Church and was also in honor of Laura Stewart.
The Fighting Flowers booth sold chocolate-covered strawberries and hand-made bowties, hair bows, headbands, picture frame and also offered a fun photo booth.
“My favorite part of the Relay was probably dancing on the Green all night!” said Emily Gray, a sophomore and Human Services major.
The KSU Relay for Life Committee scheduled tons of entertainment that took place during the night. Some of the events included: a crazy hat walk, small-scale Olympic Games and a Miss Relay pageant where guys strutted in their best female attire.
Michael Baker, a senior and communication major, was one of the contestants.
“It was quite a different experience to dress like a girl, but it was cool because everyone gave money to their favorite pageant contestant as a way to raise money,” Baker said.
There was also a luminary service held to honor those who have survived cancer and those who have passed away. Luminaries purchased by participants lit the path around the KSU Campus Green.
At 10 p.m., the luminaries were lit and each attendee was given a candle to light. Carson gave a moving speech, which was followed by a moment of silence as the crowd made a lap around the Campus Green.
The grand total of money raised for Relay for Life 2013 was more than $50,000. The KSU Relay for Life Committee will continue taking donations and are already excited for the event that will take place next year.