Relay to aid in cancer battle

Northern Kentucky University will host the first college-based Relay for Life, an annual, worldwide event created by the American Cancer Society to raise funds for the fight against cancer.

Beginning on Friday, April 16 at 8 p.m., the relay is the ACS’s signature overnight event in which team members will take turns walking or running around a track at the Albright Health Center.

“The Relay for Life is an overnight event to symbolize that cancer never sleeps,” said Mike Tabben, PR chair for the Relay for Life. “The opening ceremony includes an opening lap by cancer survivors. There will also be a luminaria ceremony, often referred to as the ‘Ceremony of Hope.’ This is a time when each participant remembers those lost to cancer, support those who have cancer and honor those who have fought off cancer.

“While those two ceremonies are dealt with in a sentimental way, the Relay For Life is a celebration of life and has plenty of food and drinks provided throughout the night, as well music, games and prizes,” he said.

This non-competitive event involves teams consisting of 8 to 15 members who are asked to “raise a minimum of $100 each” through donations, garage sales, car washes or other events prior to the relay, according to the ACS Web site. T-shirts are given to team members who reach the minimum goal.

“Last year, more than 3,000 communities nationwide participated in Relay for Life and raised more than $243 million, making the event the largest fundraiser in the U.S.,” according to an ACS press release.

“All funds raised at Relay for Life support American Cancer Society programs designed to reduce cancer incidence and mortality through research, education, advocacy and patient services.”

Junior Rebecca Hoh, a psychology major at NKU, is a cancer survivor and has been the Cancer Survivor Chair since November 2003.

She was involved in planning this year’s Relay for Life at NKU and will also participate in the event.

“I am a cancer survivor, my grandmother lost her battle and my aunt is going through treatment now for breast cancer, so I have several reasons to participate in the relay,” Hoh said.

Hoh overcame Retinoblastoma, a form of eye cancer that develops in the cells of the retina of children, typically under the age of five.

“About four months after I was born, my parents noticed that there was something wrong with my eyes; light didn’t reflect off my right eye and it was shrinking,” Hoh said.