The Melanoma Foundation estimates that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and the American Childhood Cancer Organization reports that 15,780 children are diagnosed with cancer each year.
On Friday evening, ETSU students, faculty members and Johnson City community members came together to fight against cancer at Relay for Life in the Mini Dome from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Relay for Life is a 12 hour fundraising walk-a-thon event that raises money for the American Cancer Society. Communities and schools across the country may host their own event at any time of the year.
Groups form teams to engage in some friendly fundraising competition. Those teams can be in honor or in memory of someone who had cancer. The American Medical Student Association’s booth was organized in memory of Candis Marie Hull, who was the sister of AMSA member Tiffany Ellis.
Each team sets up a booth that they decorate, host activities or have items for sale. Each team is also required to have at least one member walking the track at all times.
At ETSU’s event, student organizations such as, POLO, Alpha Delta Pi, Pi Kappa Alpha, the Residence Hall Association, Alpha Phi Alpha, Admissions Ambassadors, Colleges Against Cancer, Silent Bucs and more set up booths with each one having a different activity.
At the Wesley Foundation’s booth, junior art major Lydia Byrd painted faces with either a cancer ribbon, the ETSU logo or as an animal.
“I was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a childhood liver cancer, when I was eight months old,” Byrd said. “I underwent treatment for about a year and had to have half of my liver removed.”
Byrd doesn’t remember having cancer, but she still visits an oncologist every two years in Asheville.
To help keep the event moving, the Relay For Life event team led different activities such as minute to win it games, a cornhole tournament and karaoke. Kryss Dula and Friends, The Kindest People and Harper and the Bears provided some musical entertainment. Line-dancing group The DandyLines performed as well.
The event also designated time to honor cancer survivors, caretakers and those who have passed away.
This year’s event raised over $23,000, and team Raising Our Voices Against Cancer raised the most money at $3,563.
To find out how to get involved in next year’s Relay for Life event, contact Jessica Poff at firstname.lastname@example.org.