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CCU Atheneum: Cancer survivors after their first lap at Relay for Life.
Cancer survivors after their first lap at Relay for Life.

CCU community 'kicks cancer in the face'

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The Coastal Carolina University community raised more than $76,000 during Relay for Life on Friday, April 16. The 69 CCU teams surpassed the original goal of $75,000, the only college or university in South Carolina to not only meet but surpass its goal.

The fundraiser benefits the American Cancer Society, which uses the funds for research and programs to help those who have been diagnosed with the disease. The theme for this year’s Relay was “Kick Cancer In The Face” and be a superhero in the fight against cancer.

There were 991 registered participants – students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members – who formed 69 teams.

The mission of the all-night event was to celebrate those who have survived cancer, remember those who have lost their battle, and fight back against the disease as a whole. “The Coastal community truly came together and in an effort to find a cure raised $76,303! This total is still climbing as donations are still being accepted,” saysCCU student Marianne Long, who was co-chair of the event, along with Sarah Burnheimer.

There were three ceremonies during the night. The survivor ceremony featured former CCU staff member Chris Martin speaking about her battle with cancer, followed by a victory lap with all cancer survivors walking the track.

During the luminaria ceremony, candles were lit in memory of those who lost their lives to cancer, followed by a slideshow listing the names of survivors and victims of cancer. This was followed by a silent memorial lap. A final ceremony of the event was the “fight back ceremony,” in which participants were reminded of the importance of the relay and its mission.

For entertainment, there were musical performances by singer Ryan Hamner, as well as CCU’s own male a cappella group Chantappela. CCU’s student radio station WCCU broadcast a live show during the night. In addition, there were sumo suits, inflatables, a rock wall, a corn hole tournament, a 100-person twister game and an energy drink pong tournament. There were laps around the track where people walked backwards, or did the crabwalk.

“After Friday’s event, it can be said that the student body not only kicked cancer in the face, but it gave it two black eyes and a broken jaw!” says Long.

The event was organized by the Relay For Life Committee, which is comprised of 15 CCU students who recruited participants, set up the track and generally organized the event. They were advised by Katie Zahm and Deana Lewis of Volunteer Services.

Team captains for each of the 69 teams were members of clubs or organizations on campus, including sports clubs, as well as community members.

Vickie Kemp of Conway, who participated in the Relay with her husband Ron, wrote a letter to the editor of The Sun News, commending the CCU students for their “total involvement and encouragement” during the event.

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