AP Story

Attached is the AP article written about the American Cancer Society, and Relay For Life. The article includes cancer statistics, and quotes from members of the Relay For Life team at Temple. 

Temple University-More than 560,000 people across the world die of cancer every year, and more than 1,500 people die of cancer every day. Across the country, groups like Relay For Life are fighting the battle against cancer by raising awareness, funds, and providing support to survivors, and those who have lost their lives to cancer.

Relay for life is a national organization dedicated to the fight against cancer. The group started in 1985 when Dr. Gordon Klatt walked around a local track in an effort to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Klatt ran a total of over 83.6 miles, and raised over $27,000, according to relay for life’s official website. After that, relay for life, and the relay events across the country took off. Just one year later 19 teams took part in the event, and raised $33,000, according to relay’s website. In total, the group has raised over $5 billion throughout its history.

While relay for life has a large impact nationally, it also has a large local impact. Local colleges, such as Temple, each have their own relay group or organization that helps to fight cancer on the local level.

“We do about 6-9 hours depending on the year,” said Brittany Blass, a Co-event lead for relay for life at Temple. “You form teams, you have one member walking the track at all times. It symbolizes that cancer doesn’t sleep so neither do we.”

Other chapters and organizations of relay for life have 24 hour events, but Blass said that because they are students, and live in North Philadelphia, that is not always reasonable.

With all the funding needed for supplies, food, activities, and hosting the event itself, all the money raised at the event goes to the American Cancer Society.

“All the money goes to the American Cancer Society,” said Blass. Not only does the event raise money for the American Cancer Society, it also raises awareness, and involves different groups and organizations at Temple to help get people involved, and volunteering.

This year, it was student professional organizations at Temple that volunteered, and had teams participate in the event. Organizations include SHRM, and other business organizations that took place in the relay, and other activities involved in the event.

While the major event for relay commemorates on one night in April, the group is working year round preparing, and fund-raising for the event itself.

“We’re working nonstop from August until our event commemorates in April” said Cory O’Donnell, a co-event lead of relay for life. “It takes a lot of logistical planning, a lot of day of planning. Having fundraisers throughout the year, food fundraisers. Anything, you name it. We really try and take advantage of the culture here at Temple to get relay for life’s name out.”

With all the hard work and preparation that goes into the making of the event, in O’Donnell’s eyes, it’s all worth it.

“I think it’s hard to come by anyone who hasn’t been affected by cancer in one way or another,” O’Donnell said. “We like to think that the American Cancer Society has had an impact on that person in one way or another.”

“Everyone has this mindset of who or what a survivor is, and you meet someone with a unique story every single year,” O’Donnell said. “And it just really goes to show that cancer really knows no bounds, it knows no race, it knows no color, it knows nothing. It really opens my eyes to what a survivor is, and the amount of courage it takes to beat cancer.”

Relay for life is always looking for new volunteers, as there can never be enough people to fight the battle against cancer.

“The more the merrier, the more people the more fun, the more of an impact, the more money. You can have fun with your friends and it’s obviously for a great cause,” said Venise J. Salcedo, a member of the mission team at relay for life.

“I think it’s really rewarding, it think just seeing the look on the survivors face. When you have kids there that have gone through cancer and this is the least you can do for them in my opinion,” said Blass.

“We’re always looking for people to add to relay for life,” said O’Donnell. “We want to make it a better event. We really think that, you can come out, come to one meeting. Get a little information, and we can show you how exactly the American Cancer Society and relay for life is something you should be fundraising for.”