Relay remembers

Cancer awareness by the numbers

The Ferris State Ukulele Club performed at Relay for Life, providing entertainment for the 1,142 participants that took place in this year’s event.
The Ferris State Ukulele Club performed at Relay for Life, providing entertainment for the 1,011 participants that took place in this year’s event. Photo by: Katie Tobak | Photographer

The American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Relay for Life was held at Ferris State Friday, April 1, in Wink Arena. The event was organized by the ACS and Ferris State’s Colleges against Cancer (CAC) registered student organization (RSO).

Relay for Life serves two purposes: it is a fundraiser, collecting donations toward cancer research, and an educational opportunity to spread awareness. Participants walk laps around the arena, stopping to donate at the kiosks of participating RSO teams.

This year’s Relay had a hero theme. Each team selected a patron superhero, which ranged from moms to power rangers. There was a carnival atmosphere to the event—fun, but punctuated with somber moments.

Here’s a closer look at Relay for Life through numbers, and what it means:

1,685,210—the number of new U.S. cancer cases diagnosed so far in 2016, according to the ACS website. Over 56,000 of these have been in Michigan.

599,690—the number of cancer deaths in the United States this year.

“A lot of my family has been affected by cancer,” said CAC president Catherine LoSchiavo, a sophomore in music industry management. “A few close ones have passed.”

$48,742.58—the total money raised by this year’s Relay event. Donations are used to fund cancer research and aid patients undergoing cancer treatment. And the money is still coming. As checks are cashed and sponsorships finalized, the grand total should be known by May.

“I can feel good knowing that I’m helping fund research and prevent deaths,” said LoSchiavo.

1,011—the total number of participants present for Ferris State’s Relay event this year. This tops last year’s attendance of 836.

62—the number of teams competing for donation dollars. Each team represented a different academic group or student organization. The Media Communications Association offered pictures with Deadpool, portrayed by Ferris television and digital media production sophomore Justin Campbell.

“Cancer sucks,” said Campbell. “That’s the Deadpool-approved statement.”

Many of the teams set donation goals. The Social Work Association and Law Enforcement academy had both broken their $1,000 goal early in the evening. A lot of the money had been pledged through sponsors before the evening of the event, with teams having dedicated weeks or months in planning.

“I feel people want the challenge,” said Ferris criminal justice senior Joseph Doll. “We’ll probably get up to two grand.”

“If you work hard, you can accomplish anything,” said Ferris criminal justice senior Tracy Lownsberry.

17—the number of survivors present at this year’s event. The Social Work Association’s patron survivor was Limbo, a 15-year-plus survivor dressed to party.

“[Relay for Life] means hope for those struggling with cancer, as well as those helping those with it,” said Ferris social work sophomore Makayla Holloway.

1—the number of people it takes to make an impact on cancer through Relay for Life according to the ACS.

“Money toward research is money well spent,” said Doll.

“It means creating new birthdays,” said Ferris social work sophomore Garret Prophet.