Come 6 p.m. April 1st, Henry Field will become a campground, walking track and hot air balloon landing pad, thanks in part to the hard work of Jamie Zychowski ’12, her sister Rose ’13, and a group of students they recruited to help raise funds for cancer research and treatment.
The first-ever Hiram Relay For Life Marathon benefit for the American Cancer Society will step off at 6 p.m. April 1st and continue for 18 hours until noon the next day at Henry Field. The event will feature 5 to 15-member teams of students, faculty, staff and village residents walking a “marathon” and soliciting pledges for the cancer society. To support the walkers, and to help make the event fun, participants will establish a “tent city” to camp overnight at the site, and activities such as corn hole and cake walk competitions, hot air balloon rides, stained glass demonstrations, and a luminary ceremony after dark are planned. Five bands and several DJ’s are lined up to serenade the participants.
“The idea is for people to recruit teams, and raise at least $100,” Zychowski said. “The way the relay works is that at least one member of each team has to be walking on the track at any given time for the whole 18 hours. But we wanted to make a fun event out of it too, and a way to pull together the campus community. ”
Organizing the event comes naturally to Zychowski, who is also Hiram Student Senate President, and her sister. Both were involved in organizing Relay For Life and other charity events while they were still in High School at Magnificat in Rocky River, Ohio, and even earlier in summer camps they attended. Their enthusiasm and experience is infectious.
“For me it started last year when I was in Professor Cyndy Willis-Chun’s 3-week course on cultural memory,” said Christina Pesecky, ’11, who, with her classmate Heather Reboudo, ‘11 and the Zychowskis, formed the nucleus of Relay For Life’s organizers. They also will be members of the Zychowski’s “Team Miracle” team during the event. “Our assignment in the class last year was to come up with something that we could memorialize on the campus. I had never done anything like that, but Jamie was in the class too and looked at us and said ‘I think I’ve got a project.’”
Since then, they have worked tirelessly to enlist the help of the athletic department for use of the field, and with many other campus and community groups to field teams and build other fund raising events around the Relay For Life cause.
“We’d like to see if we can raise $25,000,” Zychowski said. “It is a great cause and a great opportunity to pull people together.” For more information on how to participate, see www.relayforlife.org/hiramcollege.