Relay For Life has been represented well through two events this year in East Alabama. On April 16, Relay For Life of Auburn University was held on the Student Center Greenspace in the shadow of Jordan-Hare Stadium. This past Saturday, April 22, Relay For Life of Lee County was held in downtown Opelika at Courthouse Square.
According to the national Relay For Life website, the overnight event supports those battling cancer of all types. Teams participating in the relay camp out around the track overnight and take turns making laps. There are different stages and events throughout the night to honor survivors, supporters, fighters and caregivers.
Overall, every year Relay For Life raises about $400 million for the American Cancer Society. Along with walking the track, there are events and activities offered to participants for those that come to support.
This year, Relay For Life of Auburn University raised $83,620. Donations will continue to go up through the summer. Relay For Life of Auburn University has close to 70 volunteers.
According to Caitlin Miley, senior in public relations and co-chair for Relay For Life of Auburn University, the event was scheduled from noon to 10 p.m. It kicked off at 1 p.m. with the opening ceremony. Then, cancer survivors took the first lap of the event to celebrate their journey.
Miley said there were about 25–30 teams. The theme for the event was Holiday Extravaganza, and each team dressed to fit a certain holiday. Each team also had a fundraiser that pertained to their holiday and personal experience.
“The traditional holidays, like Christmas and the Fourth of July,” Miley said. “Then there were some of the more odd holidays, like National Dog Day and National Sugar Cookie Day.”
There were trivia games, spike ball, cornhole, water pong and other games for people to play throughout the day. There was local music to add a soundtrack to the event, and a local Auburn student spoke about her journey through cancer.
Relay For Life of Auburn University raised $142,000 this year. The event ran from 6 p.m. to midnight. It was a community-wide event that included many churches and Lee County organizations.
According to Ashlee Baggett, American Cancer Society community manager, the teams fundraised all year for the event. There were 58 teams in all, and the teams finished the long night strong.
There was a DJ on site, face painting, food and inflatables for the children and those participating in the event. The theme for the event was Hope Stock, which was a play on Wood Stock, Baggett said.
“There was a slight weather scare in the morning, but everything turned out fine for the night event,” Baggett said. “We had a great attendance, both young and old. We consider it a huge success.”
There was a Jail & Bail game where guests could pay to have their friends and family thrown in jail. The “criminal” would then yell for people to donate in order to bail them out. Aubie was present and got thrown in jail.
“It is a time to honor those that are fighting against cancer and to honor those that have lost their fight,” Baggett said.