UCA’s Relay for Life Raises $11,000 for Cancer Research

Colleges Against Cancer raised over $11,000 for the American Cancer Society at its Relay for Life event April 21 in the Farris Center.

The event included stalls that provided food, games and other entertainment for low prices.

All proceeds went to funding cancer research.

Junior event leader Treslyn Fletcher said 500 people had signed up to participate beforehand and more were signing up as they arrived during the night of the event.

Fletcher has been involved with events like this since ninth grade and said it has been both fun and rewarding.

“It’s been a blessing to be able to raise money for these people,” Fletcher said.

The track had a circle of paper bags called luminarias, which bore the names of people’s loved ones who died from cancer.

Junior Reid Malone served as DJ throughout the night, filling the room with a mix of old and new music.

Early on, people played competitive games, like trying to balance Pepsi cans on their edges, musical chairs and a pizza-eating contest.

After some games, Director of Professional Development and Training Charlotte Strickland gave a speech about her personal experiences with people who were diagnosed with cancer.

Strickland’s father, who battled cancer for 15 years, would say “The bear’s in the cage” when he was in remission and “The bear’s out of the cage” when he needed chemotherapy, Strickland said.

Strickland’s father died six years ago from cancer and she said that experiences like this teach people how to love, find strength and discover faith.

“My dad, while dying, taught me how to live,” Strickland said. “Loss of life leads to living.”

Because people tend not to think about cancer until it affects someone close to them, Strickland challenged eventgoers to love and live more so that they can be there for their loved ones.

“Cancer hurts the hearts of those on the sidelines,” Strickland said.

After Strickland’s speech, eventgoers began a silent walk around the track to honor cancer victims.

The games, music and “Mr. Relay” drag pageant commenced after the walk.

Freshman Connor “Virgina Sherry” Lichtenwalter, freshman Isaac “Tinkerboy” Raphael, sophomore David “Diana Saur” Gardner, sophomore Zane “Captain Morgan” Washington, freshman Mathew “Ilene Dover” Chokvengboun and sophomore Cole “Candy” Davis competed in the pageant.

After the competitors explained why they deserved to win, they showcased their talents.

The first three competitors lip synced to The Weather Girls’ “It’s Raining Men,” Aly & AJ’s “Do You Believe in Magic” and Meghan Trainor’s “NO.”

The fourth and fifth competitors participated in a soccer game involving bubble suits, which Washington won.

During the pageant’s final segment, the competitors faced off to see who could collect the most tips and become the winner.

The competitors earned a total of about $223 in tips.

Lichtenwalter, Davis and Gardner won first, second and third places, respectively.

In conjunction with the Missions Barber College, freshman Jake Yarbro had his long hair cut off to be donated after the pageant.

By the end of the night, over $11,000 had been raised, Fletcher said.

Colleges Against Cancer also planned the “Statues on the Lawn” event, which occurred last fall.

During the event, male students who were painted gold and pretended to be statues asked for donations.

Planning for the next Colleges Against Cancer event will begin a week after the Relay for Life, Fletcher said.

Photos by Monica Sanders.

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