Relay for Life unifies students on quest to cure cancer

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NAU’s Relay for Life still needs more than $40,000 to reach its fundraising goal. For information on forming a team or donating to the fund, call (928) 607-7429 orĀ click here.

More than 1,000 students representing 65 teams will walk all night to raise money for the American Cancer Society at NAU’s Relay for Life, April 21-22, at the Walkup Skydome.

Students have already raised more than $30,000 toward their $73,000 goal by pledging to have students walking non-stop at the event to help fund cancer research and patient support services. The Relay starts at 7 p.m. on April 21 and ends at 6 a.m. April 22.

“We stay up all night in solidarity with cancer patients,” saidĀ Emily Huff, a senior health sciences major and member of the Relay for Life planning committee. “NAU students are really dedicated to the cause.”

A student from NAU's 2004 Relay for Life walks the track to promote her jail-and-bail fundraiser
A student from NAU’s 2004 Relay for Life walks the track to promote her jail-and-bail fundraiser

Ashley Mott, a senior environmental sciences major, is helping plan the event for the second year in a row. “Last year, my dad was diagnosed with tongue cancer a couple of weeks before the event,” she said. “He passed away in November. I feel like I have to do this.” With nearly $2,000 in donations collected, Mott is currently the top fundraiser for the event.

A number of activities are planned to honor cancer survivors and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to the disease. Survivors will be invited to share their personal stories and participate in a victory lap around the track. Throughout the event, a luminaria display will feature hundreds of bags decorated to honor loved ones.

There are also lighthearted activities planned to celebrate life, including bouncy houses, video games and jail-and-bail fundraisers where students get put in “jail” and need to raise money for their release.

Mott said raising money through the event is as important as the psychological benefits of participating. “I think it will be really healing for my mom and me,” she said.