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ISSUE 119 VOL 19 PUBLISHED 5/5/2006

Relay for Life ready for fundraising marathon

By Emelie Heltsley
News Editor


Friday, May 5, 2006

St. Olaf students and Northfield community members are invited to participate in Relay For Life, an event that honors cancer survivors, increases cancer awareness and raises funds for the American Cancer Society (ACS). The opening ceremony begins on Manitou Field at 5 p.m., and all are welcome.

As of Thursday, Relay For Life has raised around $30,000, thanks to approximately $17,000 in online donations, around $10,000 from individual Relay teams and $3,000 from corporate sponsors.

Relay for Life Public Relations Director Chad Stegeman '07 said that the donations always increase on the night of the event, however.

Many student groups raised money by selling root beer floats in Buntrock Plaza, hosting campus golf tournaments and calling friends and family to ask for donations.

This year brings several changes to Relay For Life, including additional Northfield community involvement, new bands that will play during the event, online registration and the attendance of more cancer survivors.

St. Olaf Cancer Connection (SCC) President Laura Hiller '08 said that there is more Carleton College and Northfield community involvement than in years past, including teams from Carleton and the Northfield Schools.

"We were trying to move more into the community," said Margit Ahmann '08, co-organizer of Relay For Life.

Hiller agreed, saying that additional performances by Carleton, St. Olaf and community bands and groups will involve more town residents.

"We hope to bring in the community by bringing in bands," Hiller said.

St. Olaf's Volunteer Network is hosting a "Kids Corner" at Relay For Life with a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, in the hopes of involving members of the community with small children.

Stegeman explained that, while there are almost 50 teams participating in Relay For Life, "there is a bit less school involvement, and a bit more community involvement."

Stegeman said that the new online registration system may have dissuaded some teams from participating in the event, and he hopes that next year more people will be familiar with the system.

During this year's Survivor Lap, more than 30 survivors will take a lap around the track. The group will include community members and parents of St. Olaf students. Hiller emphasized that honoring survivors is incredibly important to the Relay For Life experience.

St. Olaf Relay For Life is phenomenal in that respect," Hiller said.

Each Relay For Life event has an honorary chair, a survivor who gives a keynote speech to those gathered. This year's honorary chair is Nancy Stuck-mayer, administrative assistant for Buntrock Commons.

All of the organizers stressed that anyone could come down to Manitou Field to partake in the festivities.

“Yes, it is for money, but it is also for awareness and support," Ahmann said.

Hiller agreed, mentioning the far-reaching effects of cancer.

"Even if cancer has not affected your life up to this point, it will affect you at some point," Hiller said. "The money raised for cancer research [at Relay For Life] could help a friend or family member live."

Relay For Life will host its opening ceremony on Manitou Field at 5 p.m., the lighting of the luminaria at 8:45 and the closing ceremony at 12:45 a.m. Anyone with questions can e-mail hiller@stolaf.edu.





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