The Kenyon community goes toe-to-toe with cancer this weekend during the seventh annual Relay for Life event at the Toan Indoor Track in the Kenyon Athletic Center. Relay for Life kicks off at 7 p.m. on Saturday and continues until 10 a.m. on Sunday.
The cancer-survivor lap around the track follows opening ceremonies. A luminaria ceremony at 9:30 p.m. serves as a remembrance of those who have lost their lives to the disease.
“Relay is important for the Kenyon community because it brings the entire campus together to fight for one goal,” said event co-chair Chelsea Katzeman ’14 of Kihei, Hawaii. “Everyone has some connection to cancer - whether it's through their own family or friends or through someone they are close to whose family is experiencing cancer.”
The 2013 Relay for Life topped its $50,000 goal, drawing more than $70,000. This year, the committee set a $70,000 goal and has already raised about $42,000. “Since Kenyon's relay is the second-highest fundraiser per capita for the American Cancer Society, Kenyon is going to have a huge role in finding the cure for cancer,” Katzeman said.
Each of the 35 teams participating will have its own fundraiser activity set up in the indoor track. Event co-chair Hannah Laub ’16 of Charlottesville, Va., said the fundraisers this year include a blow-up castle and a mechanical riding bull. Other activities include yoga classes, a pie-eating contest, a game of humans versus zombies, and a silent auction. Performances by Kenyon singing groups the Cornerstones, the Chasers, and the Stairwells along with White Noise, an a cappella outfit from Harvard University, will brighten the mood throughout the event.
The 359 participants will also enjoy themed laps around the track, including a red-carpet lap at 8 p.m., a Disney lap at 1 a.m., an “aloha to the new day” lap at 3 a.m., and a Kenyon purple-pride lap at 9 a.m.
Relay is especially important for Katzeman and Laub. Both lost their fathers to lung cancer, Katzeman last year, and Laub when she was 14.
Physicians expected Laub’s father to live for three months, but he fought the disease for more than a year. “The memory of what it was like living with cancer for those 14 months is haunting, and I couldn't really live with myself if I weren't taking action to make sure fewer people have that experience,” Laub said.
“My dad did every treatment and experimental drug that he could, including a lifetime's worth of radiation in two years,” Katzeman explained. “I relay because I don't want anyone to ever have to go through what my family did.”
Donations can be made online by going to http://relayforlife.org/kenyoncollege or via checks made out to the American Cancer Society and mailed to Kenyon College Relay for Life, 5555 Frantz Rd., Dublin, Ohio, 43017.
By Nina Zimmerman ’14