Relay for Life rallies to help fight cancer

Last Friday night at the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, neon colors, loud music and games abounded. It wasn’t a party, at least not the usual type, although the event did last all night.

From 7 p.m. on Feb. 28 until 7 a.m. the next morning, MSU hosted a Relay for Life. Held in over 5,000 locations every year, the event helps to raise money for fighting cancer and raises awareness. The proceeds go to the American Cancer Society of Montana (ACS) and help community and patient support programs and cancer research. The MSU event was hosted by ACS’s Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) chapter.

Twenty teams ranging from five to ten members competed in the relay. Every time a participant makes a complete lap around the track, money is paid to the ACS. “The event goes really well. They raise a lot of money,” said sophomore Chris Eddlemon, a member of Sigma Chi. “It’s nice to see the campus as a whole participating in an event that has a good cause,” Eddlemon added.

The MSU Relay for Life also had a large number of games and sub-events, such as alligator wrestling, dance-offs, singing competitions and the luminaria ceremony where an electric candle is placed in a decorated bag to remember those who have succumbed to the disease.

CAC will be hosting more fundraising events throughout the semester. “We have a 3-on-3 dodgeball tournament coming up in March at the gym. The entry fee is $20 per team and proceeds benefit [Relay for Life],” event co-chair Kylie Edwards said. “Our overall goal for the whole year is to raise $30,000 by August, so we have other fundraisers coming up in March, April and throughout the summer,” said Samantha Brandon, the other event co-chair.

Relay for Life at MSU also included “on-the-hour” speakers who talked about their cancer and relay for life experiences. Two such speakers, Lee and Ruth Killman, from Billings, came and gave testimony to their experience with cancer. “Our older son, David, was 20 and he was diagnosed with leukemia. He fought it for 1,000 days and passed away at the age of 22 in 2001,” said Ruth. “We’re involved tonight because these kids are the age he was when he got sick … we don’t want to see these kids have to go through that,” said Lee. The Killmans’ son was a student at Oklahoma State University and a member of Pi Kappa Alpha when he passed away.

The event drew negative feedback from at least one participant. “This years turnout for the relay was disappointing. The lack of participation from the Bozeman community was astonishing, especially from the students,” said junior Daniel Lawson, member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Of the 20 teams, 11 were sororities and fraternities. “I really wish that more of the non-Greek population on campus could have come out,” Lawson said.

Students were encouraged to join the ACS’s Cancer Action Network. To join visit: acscan.org/cac. A one-year membership requires a minimum donation of $10.