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UNLV Campus (photo courtesy of unlv.edu)
UNLV Campus (photo courtesy of unlv.edu)

Relay for Life Aims to Spread Cancer Awareness

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UNLV will be hosting a Relay For Life event from 6 p.m. through the night of April 18 in pursuit of fundraising for American Cancer Society and spreading awareness of cancer.  It will be held at UNLV’s Myron Partridge Track Stadium.

Participants are encouraged to walk the track in order to raise cancer awareness.

Relay For Life focuses on walking the track because the founder, Dr. Gordy Klatt, walked and ran a track in Tacoma, Wash., in May 1985.

According to Relay For Life’s website, Klatt ended up raising $27,000 and gained 340 supporters the following year.

Logistics chair member Andrew Guinsatao, 21, says activities and events will hosted throughout the night , such as music and game booths.

UNLV alumni and former logistics and event chair member Karuna Narang, 23, says that teams will host the activities to do their part for the fundraiser.

Some of the activities done in the past include yoga sessions and breakfast burritos sales.

“You will almost never fall asleep because there is always something to do throughout those 12 hours,” Narang said.

However, she says that it’s encouraged at least one member from each team always be walking.

“Our motto is, ‘Cancer never sleeps, neither do we,’” Narang said.

She explains that Relay For Life has three main focuses: celebrate, remember and fight back.

“Celebrate” has anything to do with the survivors, such as the very first lap around the track and the people who are still fighting or have already fought cancer.

“Remember” is represented by the Luminaria Ceremony and is dedicated to people who have lost the battle to cancer.

“Fight” will be represented differently depending on what committee is holding the relay, but the idea is cancer awareness and focusing on the participants attending Relay For Life.

Guinsatao says that the light-up of luminaria, small paper lanterns, is what he would consider to be as the highlight of the night.

Each luminaria can be personalized in memory or honor of someone who has been affected by cancer.

“We light the bags around the tracks and bleachers,” Guinsatao said. “We’ll keep them lit throughout the night to provide hope to people who need it.”

He says that cancer survivors will also have a chance to present their own stories and experiences while fighting this disease.

Narang encourages people who haven’t been to a Relay For Life before to give it a shot, even if it’s just for an hour.

“Get a glimpse and see how people are trying to create a world with more birthdays and less cancer,” she said.

“A lot of survivors tell people how important it is to have hope,” Guinsatao said. “Cancer doesn’t equal death.”

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