The Washington County and ETSU Relay for Life chapter are looking to add a new a diversity chairman to their chapter, a position that no other Relay for Life chapter has.
The current board includes Advisor Carter Warden, Chair Doretha Benn, Bring the People Lead Nathaniel Farnor, Fund the Cure Lead Kayla Sides Watson and Experience Lead Kelsey King-Hook. In addition, Napoleon Rivera is in charge of entertainment, Chandler Parris is in charge of activities and Garret Parks is in charge of survivors and caregivers recruitment.
Farnor said he believes the organizations that are involved in the event are primarily leadership based — Student Government Association, Greek organizations and different scholarship programs — and don’t represent cultural and non-traditional organizations enough.
“When you think of cancer, it’s one of those things that doesn’t discriminate based on race, age, gender, orientation, nationality and so on,” Farnor said. “Cancer has no bias, and because of that, we should be able to collectively stand together and fight back.”
The Diversity Chair will go out to various cultural, religious and other minority-related organizations to talk to them about how they can all work together to raise cancer awareness.
“We have over 200 organizations, which involves some very diverse groups from all different levels of diversity,” Farnor said. “They’re all doing their own thing in terms of moving forward and making a difference on what they’re passionate about, but there should be more opportunities where everyone can come together.”
Farnor has suggested ETSU senior Mahon Mahmodian to fill the position for Diversity Chair.
“I have recently dealt with a family diagnosis, so this is definitely a cause that I am passionate about,” Mahmodian said. “I look forward to connection with the various organizations and promoting the need for research and awareness about cancer.”
Mahmodian serves as a diversity educator and is a pre-medical student, which he feels contributes a lot to his passion for the chair position.
“This is really meaningful to me, and I can’t wait to help advocate for this in any way that I can,” Mahmodian said.
While Relay for Life is a cause that works all year round, they hope to make their main event in April more inclusive and greater than it has ever been.
“We want the event to be what it’s intended to be—people of all backgrounds coming together to celebrate those who are survivors, currently diagnosed or could be in the future,” Farnor said.