Last Saturday, Augustana students and faculty gathered in PepsiCo Recreation Center for Relay for Life.
Relay for Life is a national cancer research fundraiser. It is the primary fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. This year, Augustana’s Relay for Life raised $26,681.66.
“It’s a way to raise awareness for cancer,” said first year Tyler Rassmusson. Student teams participate from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
“I think the biggest thing is to stay active,” said Augustana senior, Tempris Daniels. “If you do that, 12 hours move by pretty quickly.”
Activities and entertainment were part of the event. Augustana’s Dance Company and Martial Arts Club performed at the event, as well as local band JaiGuru.
“I’m doing it with my sorority, Chi Omega Gamma. We’ll be selling funnel cakes, deep-fried Oreos and lemonade,” said first year Danica Gray. Other groups sold trail mix, cotton candy and ice cream.
During the night, the Delta Omega Nu fraternity hosted the Big Pink volleyball tournament. The Chi Omega Gamma and Delta Chi Theta sororities hosted a dodge ball tournament.
Students had different reasons to participate.
“It’s something I’ve done since 6th grade. It’s a family thing,” said Daniels.
“This summer, my dad passed away from cancer. I’m doing Relay for Life because it’s a good cause. It’s also a great way to bond with my sorority sisters,” she said.
First year Tyler Rassmusson had similar reasons.
“November of 2011, my mom was diagnosed with cancer,” said Rassmusson. “That was my senior year of high school. I took care of her for a year. In the end, she passed away. It’s definitely something that changed me. I never thought that I would have such a personal experience with cancer. It was really hard, but I’m really grateful for the year I had with her.”
“I have relatives that have died from many different kinds of cancer, and it is just a really hard thing to go through,” said Gray.
Augustana professor Dr. Bob Tallistch spoke at the Relay for Life opening ceremony. He is a cancer survivor, or as he said it, “a cancer patient.” He spoke of his experience with cancer and how it affected the people around him.
“I think it touches a lot of people’s hearts. I think that’s why it’s such a big event,” said Daniels.
“It touches everything, children’s (cancer), breast cancer, everything,” she continued. “When I do Relay, I think, ‘They lost their family member, I can do this.’
“It’s motivation,” said Daniels.