Looking Behind The Scenes Of Relay For Life

Looking Behind The Scenes Of Relay For Life

Jocea Jordan Contributing Writer

    The Relay For Life Club, associated with the American Cancer Society (ACS), elected a new president, plans to increase membership and plan publicity and fundraising events for the community. Relay for Life hosts two main events throughout the year which are the kick off bash in November and their main event at the end of the year in April.

    Relay for Life is a club on campus which hosts events in hopes of raising money and awareness for ACS. This club also provides support for those who may have, have had, or know someone who has had cancer. The Relay for Life club hosts events throughout the year to help reach the fundraising goals they have created and to bring the community together. 

    Newly elected president of Relay for Life Alyssa Higbie, a senior studying psychology, has previously been involved with the club for three years as a team captain for the Community Residence Council (CRC). This year, Higbie is taking on the role as president of the club which involves booking rooms, doing paperwork, as well as planning and running meetings. 

    Higbie said “checking in with everyone, making sure things are going the way they need to, that everyone has support, and that we are a strong team together,” are all important parts of her role as well.

    This level of involvement as a president is different from what Higbie did as a team captain and she wanted to be able to help out even more by being apart of a different part of the Relay team.“When the role of being the president was an option, I realized that I wanted to be more involved in the actual planning and set up of it, by building the team and getting things together on the Relay side of it,” she said.

Cody Robinson and Alyssa Higbie, Relay Recruit and newly-elected President (Photo courtesy of Alyssa Higbie)

     “I decided to join Relay for Life because my dad is a cancer survivor. When I found out about Relay three years ago, I said that sounds like something that would be really cool to get CRC together for and also to give back to another organization [ACS],” said Higbie.

    She continued, “My dad was diagnosed this past summer with the same type of cancer he had 10 years ago, so to be president this year is a really powerful way for me to be able to tell that story as well. As he put it, he wants to be a two time survivor, and hopefully through my work with Relay. . .could help to impact that as well.”

     Higbie believes that by raising awareness of Relay for Life, helping to organize the event and raising money to host the event and for ACS that she will be able to support not only her father, but also others who have and are currently fighting cancer.    

      Cody Robinson, a junior early childhood education major, is the Relay Recruiter for the club. His role as recruiter consists of “engaging the community to come together, and to also just make a successful event. Reaching out to businesses for sponsorships and connecting to ACS,” he said. 

    Robinson has been apart of the Relay for Life cause since 2012, and he has worked with both the campus as well as the community for Relay for Life. He has had many roles such as a team member, team captain, and committee member and has been a great source of information for the club. 

    Robinson said, “I have had several family members that have been diagnosed with cancer of one form or another and unfortunately none of them have survived the cancer so it’s been a huge impact on my life, so joining Relay was kind of like that support net that I could turn to and find more research and help hopefully end this horrible disease.”

    “We want to have a great event in April, that brings the community as well as the campus together. We would like a bigger turnout than in years past. “We’re looking to grow the support and raise awareness for cancer research and cancer supports that ACS supplies,” said Higbie.

    She said, “As Cody said he found support and connections through relay and having those connections when you have something you’re going through is really important.” 

    “I think as a committee we’re always looking to have a good event and raise a lot of money, that’s kind of why we do what we do. But through that have fun and meet new people and create some memories that are positive in light of something that isn’t always so positive.” Making Relay into an event where people can enjoy themselves and be involved with the Relay community is important to Higbie. 

    Zach Bolduc, a freshman secondary science education major, is a member of the club as well. He said, “When I saw that Relay needs help, and considering that it is for a really good cause I figured I would give it a try. Cancer runs very deeply in my family, so I would like to help and I am a very compassionate person in the first place, so anytime that I can give back, I do.”

    If students would like to reach out and talk about Relay for Life and learn more information about the organization and club as well as how they can help, they can contact umf.relayforlife-group@maine.edu.

Laps for a Cause

Laps for a Cause

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 alyssa.higbie@maine.edu 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.”