By Madison Lecowitch Contributing Writer

 Every year UMF hosts Relay for Life, an event supporting individuals who have had cancer impact their lives. This year the event is scheduled for April 12th, with a goal to raise $100,000. Alyssa Higbie, captain of the Campus Residence Council (C.R.C.) team for Relay for Life and senior at UMF, has seen first hand how cancer can devastate families and change lives forever. Through participating in Relay for Life, Higbie has used her experience to help benefit other people battling with cancer.

(L to R): Taylor Rossics, Alyssa Higbie, and Michaela Carney participated in Relay for Life in 2018. This will be Higbie’s third year participating. (Photo courtesy of Alyssa Higbie)

   Higbie first saw cancer impact her family when her dad was diagnosed. He is now a survivor of ten years. “My family was lucky that my dad’s cancer was only mouth cancer and the tumor was taken out, and he is able to be a survivor,” said Higbie. “Not everyone is that lucky, not everyone has as easy of a journey, and that’s why it is important that we do give back – that we do raise money for this.”

   Relay for Life is an event that is run by the American Cancer Society. The event raises money to help families and individuals who are battling cancer. “Relay for Life benefits people who are survivors, people who are dealing with cancer, the families of people who have cancer,” said Higbie. “It could be from financial help, to helping get rides to and from the cancer center, to helping figure out who the best doctors are.”

   Every donation to the organization helps. Last year, UMF and the Farmington community donated $21,000 to Relay for Life. “Every dollar we raise goes to research and it goes to early prevention and screenings,” Higbie said. “It goes to helping people who already have a diagnosis, so it gives help, it gives hope, and it gives care to people who need it the most.”

   Higbie understands how important it is to support other families who are dealing with cancer. “It could have been a lot different for my family if my dad’s cancer was more severe – and so to give back, to help families who might need a little more help then we needed – is really important to me.”

   To Higbie, there is a deeper meaning behind what Relay for Life stands for. “Relay for Life to me means hope. It means a chance of being able to help others, and it means to me a community coming together for a cause,” she said. “It means that people who need help in a dark time can get it, and if I can be a small part of that – that’s wonderful.”

   This will be Higbie’s third year participating in Relay for Life. Higbie has found that community support is what makes the event so spectacular. “Last year I raised $500 personally, and it was really all about talking to friends, family members and people from my church. A lot of the donations were $10-$15 a piece, so it’s not like it’s just one big donation from one person.”

  There will also be fundraising taking place throughout the night at the event. “We have live performances like the UMF Dance Team, Clefnotes and Deep Treble [who performed last year]. Different clubs have different tables around, as well as the community,” Higbie said. “We did snow cones last year, someone else had nail painting, and someone else had raffle baskets. It’s a real community event where everyone comes together to raise money.”

   Relay for Life will be held in the FRC on April 12th. The event is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and usually ends early in the morning. Higbie encourages anyone who wants to participate to join the C.R.C. team and to email her at if there are any questions. To join the Relay for Life as a runner/walker a minimum $10 donation is required. “Everyone should join! Join a team, go as an individual, go for it,” Higbie said. “If you want to just go and support, you can also do that too.”