This Friday marks the night of Relay for Life held right here on campus. The activities start at 6 pm and will continue through the night until 6 am on Hillside Field. The 12-hour fundraising event supports the American Cancer Society and last year, JMU was the third largest collegiate Relay in the nation.
This year, JMU’s Relay donation goal is $315,000, and with your help, JMU can reach and even surpass this goal in the fight against cancer. Any member of the JMU community can sign up on the Relay for Life website and fundraise as a team or as an individual. Collectively, JMU Relay participants have already raised over $200,000 to date, and there are still 4 days left!
So far, JMU has an outstanding total of 194 teams signed up and fundraising for the event on Friday. These teams range from organizations like club sports, greek life, staff and faculty groups, and even residence halls. Over 3,200 participants are signed up for the event, either on one of these teams or as an individual donor.
JMU’s Relay for Life Executive Board
On campus, the Relay for Life of JMU Executive Board has been working all year to plan the event and make it the best yet! The board is comprised of 23 students of various ages and majors. The board’s Director of Growth, Jennifer Markfeld, has been working with the JMU Relay for Life team since her first year on campus. Markfeld was inspired by a friend’s battle with cancer to get involved in making a difference here at JMU.
“Relay For Life of JMU has given me an encouraging, passionate community to rely on over the past 3 years. The people I’ve worked with on the planning committee and executive board have inspired me to always keep pushing forward no matter what in order to achieve a goal. This organization has helped me cope with loss and hardship in such a beautiful way and has helped me turn grief into passion in a way that I could have never expected to experience during my time here at JMU.” -Jennifer Markfeld, Director of Growth
Fellow Executive Board member, Emmie Lacy, is the Cancer Education/Advocacy Co-Chair of the JMU Relay for Life team. Lacy is also grateful for her three years of involvement with Relay and the immense influence it has had on her college experience.
“Relay For Life of JMU has provided me with a supportive, cancer-fighting community and has helped to turn the negative impact of cancer into a positive outlet for service. From my sophomore year as a committee member to the past two years on the exec board, I can’t imagine my JMU college experience without Relay and the amazing people that I’ve worked with along the way.” -Emmie Lacy, Cancer Education/Advocacy Co-Chair
Markfeld and Lacy’s efforts in continuing to progress our campus’ Relay do not go unnoticed. Together, the Executive Board holds the spot for the highest amount of money raised for the event with $18,542 currently donated.
It is students like Jennifer Markfeld, Emmie Lacy, and the rest of JMU’s Relay for Life team that help to make the event significant. These incredible students, pictured below, are making a difference with their hard work and compassion towards the cause.
What happens during the event?
Throughout the 12 hours of Relay, there are many activities for participants to enjoy while they celebrate, remember, and fight back against cancer. The beginning of the event starts with an opening ceremony that honors everyone effected by cancer and all of the participants that have donated to fight back. Following the opening ceremony there will be a variety of performances, listed below:
During the event, there will also be a Survivor/Caregiver Walk that honors those who are the heart and soul of the night. As survivors and caregivers walk, participants at the event will be there cheering on their strength and courage.
Later in the night, during a Luminaria Ceremony, lights that line the walking path will be illuminated to honor survivors, those currently fighting the disease, and those that have lost their lives to cancer. This beautiful ceremony gives time for participants to remember and honor those directly effected by the disease.
A closing ceremony will be held at the end of the event where participants gather to celebrate the impact that JMU’s Relay has made in the fight against cancer, as well as how to get involved in continuing the fight.
Getting involved with Relay is easy, and the difference you can make is BIG! The American Cancer Society is the largest cancer fundraiser in the nation. Supporting their mission at our campus’ Relay event can help change the way that cancer patients across the U.S. experience their treatments and recovery. Raising just $50 can ensure one overnight stay in one of our nations Hope Lodge locations when a patient’s best treatment option may be in a different city than their home. Some other ways your dollar will make an incredible difference are on the Relay for life website:
Most importantly, every donation to the event counts. Attending Relay for Life of JMU makes a greater impact towards fighting against cancer than you think. This week, Monday through Wednesday, find members of the Executive Board on Hillside Field as they hold events like “Why I Relay” and have tables to sign up to participate and donate to Friday night’s event.
To learn more about the event’s details, attend this Wednesday’s final “What’s up with Relay” meeting from 8-9pm in ISAT 136. Connect with the event, and check out the Relay for Life of JMU page on FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, and the tune in to the live coverage of the 12-hour event on JMU’s official snapchat @jamesmadisonu for updates. We can’t wait to see you Friday night supporting Relay for Life!