Pink. Purple. Blue. Lavender. Teal. Over 600 Drake students proudly placed ribbons of these colors on their chest during the Relay for Life last Friday night.
Relay for Life is a national event run by the American Cancer Society and hosted by various communities and colleges throughout the nation. It helps to raise money for the American Cancer Society. It also serves as a celebration for those who have survived their battle with cancer, and a remembrance for those who lost it.
This is the sixth year Drake has hosted a Relay, and the first time it’s been held at the Knapp Center. In previous years, it’s been held at the field house.
“At the beginning of the year, we talked about changes we wanted to make from last year,” Drake Relay for Life Co-President Erin Hogan explained. “We felt that the field house isn’t as pleasant an environment, and our event has grown a lot since it started.”
“We thought, with the Knapp Center, it was a ‘You got to think big to be big’ kind of thing… we really just wanted to make it a bigger event.”
It was indeed a bigger event. Hogan said that versus last year, participation had almost doubled. By the time the event started on Friday, the Relay committee had already topped their goal of $30,000, settling in at around $34,500, the most ever raised at a Drake Relay for Life. About one-third of that money will stay in Polk County to help American Cancer Society resources here.
“This year, this is a lot bigger than the ones that we have back in my hometown,” said Drake junior Erin Schroeder, who has been involved in Relay for Life for over 10 years now. “To have it in the Knapp Center is really cool. A lot more people seem like they’re here.”
Schroeder says the appeal is personal to her.
“I’ve had a lot of family members who have been affected by cancer and who’ve died because of cancer,” explained Schroeder. “So I’m passionate about trying to help find a cure, and things like this are really important.”
The event ran for twelve hours, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Students weren’t just walking in circles the whole time, however. Entertainment at the Knapp Center included a juggler, two campus a capella groups, limbo, and bingo.
There was also a luminary ceremony, where students lined the track with candles to celebrate and remember loved ones who struggled with the disease.
Both Schroeder and Hogan agree that one of the best parts about Relay for Life at Drake is how it brings the campus community together.
“I think getting to see all my friends and people in the Drake community getting involved and getting passionate about something like this is really fun and interesting,” said Schroeder.
“If you stay for all twelve hours,” Hogan said, “you’re bound to bond with someone. There’s a lot of time to talk and to get to meet people… it’s for a great cause, so I think people feel good doing this instead of going out on a Friday.”
This was a web version of a DrakeLine television story.