The weather dipped to a low of 33 degrees, but that didn’t stop 350 people from fighting back against cancer in Hiram College’s inaugural Relay for Life event this past weekend, April 1 and 2.
The event came to be as part of a class project, and by the time all was said and done, 29 teams raised $22,000 for cancer research.
Relay For Life is a global event put on by the American Cancer Society, giving people a chance to celebrate the those who have battled cancer, remember lives lost to the disease and fight back for a cure.
Teams of 5-45 members camped out on Charles A. Henry Field and took turns walking around the track. With one team member on the track at all times, the overnight event symbolized the fact that cancer never sleeps.
The event began with sisters and co-chairs, Jamie and Rose Zychowski, introducing Professor Jane Rose, a breast cancer survivor, who gave opening remarks. She, along with other breast cancer survivors at Hiram and two Greek organizations, formed the Relay for Life team Bosom Buddy Club.
Jane Rose said it was a great honor to be selected as the opening speaker, and to see the Hiram community come together in this way was very meaningful.
For Jamie Zychowski, the most rewarding part of the event was seeing how much the cancer survivors appreciated the hard work.
“A lot of the survivors came up to me and said they had a good time,” she said. “It’s all about the survivors. To have them be happy about it meant a lot to me.”
Zychowski first got involved with Relay for Life in high school, and when the opportunity arose to bring it to Hiram, she dove right in. She, her sister Rose and the rest of the committees and teams spent hours each day since August 2010 to make the event happen.
The Zychowskis lost their grandmother to breast cancer, so in terms of cancer research, Jamie said she would like to see more free mammograms available to women who can’t afford it.
“Until we find the cure,” she said, “we want people who can’t afford insurance to get treatment through the American Cancer Society.”
While planning is already underway for next year’s event, there’s still time to donate to this year’s Relay for Life. Visit www.relayforlife.org/hiramcollege to help the teams meet their overall goal of $25,000.