People who have survived, or have died from cancer are not just a part of the many statistics surrounding cancer cases. But they are also mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and friends.
To help honor those who have survived or lost the battle with cancer, and to help raise money to fund research projects and cures, DePauw University, along with the American Cancer Society, will host the 2007 Relay For Life on Saturday, April 28 through Sunday, April 29 from noon to noon at Blackstock Stadium.
So what exactly is Relay For Life? According to en.wikipedia.org, Relay For Life "is an overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs of the American Cancer Society."
During the Relay For Life breakfast Tuesday, different groups, organizations and team members learned how the raised funds are used, what activities will be available and how teams can be formed for this year's event.
Billie Kaufman from the American Cancer Society informed the audience how the society uses money raised at events and programs like Relay For Life.
"The American Cancer Society is dedicated to limiting cancer as a major health concern," Kaufman said.
Kaufman then pointed out that the cancer mortality rate has declined over the past few years, and she accredited programs like Relay For Life and participants' donations for this achievement.
"We are actually making headway in the fight against cancer," Kaufman said.
These funds also help the society with cancer education, cancer advocacy, cancer research and cancer patient services.
Lou Fordice from the Putnam County Hospital informed the audience how the funds help people in the county.
Fordice said that in November of 2005, she accepted the position of Community Outreach Coordinator in the Oncology Department at PCH, but she did not know what the position entailed or what she was supposed to do.
"As it turned out, I worried for nothing because the American Cancer Society has been beside me every step of the way," Fordice said.
Some of the different things PCH has used the money raised from Relay For Life for are skin cancer screening tests, Phone-A-Friend where a person calls five people to talk to them about cancer and the importance of having a mammogram test performed, Screenings for Life where women can receive their mammogram test at a free or reduced price for women ages 40-65 and the gas card program where patients receive a $50 gas card to use when traveling back and forth between radiation treatments. Fordice said the only problem with the last program is that the fund has run out of money.
DePauw Committee Chairs for the event have set several goals. These goals include good weather, luminaries that actually light to spell out words and the big goals of having 200 teams and reaching a monetary goal of $250,000.
DePauw Sophomore Raija Bushnell, who is the Chair of Team Development, talked about having 200 teams participate. Teams from past Relay For Life's consisted of members from the community and the schools, young teams and teams of survivors.
Bushnell told the audience that several people do not know what Relay For Life is, so she encouraged those present to talk to other people about the program and rally them to join and create a team.
Bushnell told the BannerGraphic that those wanting to get involved in the program should talk to somebody who has participated before, e-mail the committee chairs at firstname.lastname@example.org, or talked to anybody on DePauw's campus who can put them in contact with a member of the committee.
Bushnell said that people could get involved either by joining at a community team that already exists and has open spots available or by creating their team consisting of eight to 10 members and a team captain.
Those wanting to join do not have be a part of an organization, club, or group to create a team.
"On campus, we've had organizations such as sorority and fraternity teams, but also sometimes friends in the dorms will put together a team or we have high school teams which will just be a group of friends in high school," Bushnell said.
According to Bushnell, signing a team up is very simple, and if a person does not have access to the Internet, then the information can be given to a member of the committee and they will sign that team up.
For more information about Relay For Life or to sign up a team, send an e-mail to relayforlife @depauw.edu.