Relay for Life at Lakota East just launched its fundraising campaign and is shooting for its loftiest goal ever.
The student-run fundraiser for American Cancer Society raised $66,528.67 via its 568 total participants, and 16 survivors attended the May event. This year, Lakota East’s goal is to raise $100,000 through the event, which is scheduled for 4 p.m. May 4 to 6 a.m. May 5.
The annual effort, a friendly competition between Lakota East and Lakota West, starts with kickoff week at the school to remind students why they should “relay” for life. The fundraising event itself includes a Survivor Lap, a Survivor dinner honoring survivors and their caregivers and an inspirational talk to the students by someone affected by cancer. A Luminara Lap – with only luminarias lighting the track – is conducted in complete silence. Games and activities are offered to keep the students awake and on their feet.
Colleen Flach, a Lakota East senior, has been involved for four years and is serving as the senior chair for the event. She said it’s important that students set an aggressive goal for the fundraising event.
“Getting $100 is simple, I can ask three people and get $100 donation in one day,” she said. “If you set your goal at $500 or $1,000 it gives you an actual amount that will be challenging to reach.”
Flach, whose grandmother died of lung cancer, said the reason participants decide to be involved is because people with cancer cannot, and everyone knows someone who has or was affected by cancer.
“She is what motivates me to keep relaying because I don’t want anyone else to feel the pain of loss,” she said.
Some people do not understand the point of giving even a smaller donation because they don’t see how it would help, but every donation counts, Flach said.
“Ten dollars can’t go a long way, but when you have 700 people asking 10 people each for $10 then you have a lot of $10 bills,” she said. “You can’t look at your donation as the only donation. Every penny adds up and when you have enough pennies, then that’s when the magic happens.”
The event — and all Relay events — are extremely important to the American Cancer Society, according to Ashton Lewis, community development manager for the organization’s North Central Region.
“Without our volunteers, we would not be able to accomplish what we do,” Lewis said. “In 2016, in Ohio alone, we were able to provide 1,700 wigs to patients, provided more than 8,400 rides to treatment and other cancer-related appointments through our Road to Recovery program, and provided more than 15,450 free nights in our Hope Lodge communities, and as of March 2017, we are currently funding cancer research grants totaling to $17,055,000.”
To check out how much Lakota East has raised —and to donate to the Relay for Life effort — visit www.relayforlife.org/lakotaeast.