More than 750 from the University of San Diego campus community and beyond did raised awareness, supported each other and fought back against cancer during the fourth annual USD Relay for Life April 5-6 at USD’s Valley Field.
“It was a great success on so many different levels,” said Michelle Powelson, a junior chemistry major, president of USD’s Colleges Against Cancer chapter and USD Relay for Life co-chair. “We had more than 750 participants and we’ve raised more than $40,000, which is absolutely amazing. Our goal was to have at least 500 participants and raise at least $40,000.”
The American Cancer Society-sponsored event, which is held at college campuses and in communities throughout the nation, raises money for cancer research to help find a cure. The event ran from 6 p.m. to 6 p.m. last Friday and Saturday. The USD participants, including students, faculty, staff, alumni and administrators, walk laps around Valley Field and there are special moments throughout the time that are dedicated to cancer survivors and in memory of loved ones lost to this disease.
As has been the case at previous USD Relay for Life events, some participants — this time it was (pictured, left to right) Ali Olson, Lucas Parelius and Erin Joyce — walked laps for the duration of the event.
This year’s theme asked participants to dress as their favorite superhero or create their own. Event co-chair Garrett Gaughan wore a full sheriff’s costume and it proved to be for an idea that wound up raising an extra $1,500 or so for cancer research.
“One of the most entertaining things we had was ‘Relay Jail,’” Powelson said. “People could pay to have whomever they wanted to be arrested by ‘Sheriff Gaughan’ and placed in jail. The person in jail then had to fundraise the same amount of money they were placed in jail for to pay their bail and be released. People in jail got really creative with their ways to fundraise their bail. We even had a group of people in jail singing a cappella at once to raise money.”
Because of the 24-hour format, participants bring tents, sleeping bags and blankets as well as snacks, games and other activities to help pass the time. One group, the USD Origami Club, spent its non-lap time creating 1,000 paper cranes.
“For every 1,000 made, you make a wish,” said one of the club’s student members, Christian Martin (pictured at left, Martin’s on the far right). “Our wish was a cure for cancer.”
— Ryan T. Blystone
Donations are still being accepted at the USD Relay for Life webpage through August.
USD Relay for Life photos courtesy of Michelle Powelson (top) and Christian Martin.