CSUN Relay to Raise Cancer Awareness

Almost everyone has been affected by cancer, whether though a personal battle or watching a loved one fight it. The unifying hope for those affected by cancer is that one day there will be a cure.

For the sixth consecutive year, California State University, Northridge is partnering with Relay for Life to help raise funds to find a cure for cancer.

“Since our first event, the CSUN community has raised $152,525 in the fight against cancer. That is a very impressive number, since it is all student raised,” said Mary Schaffer, head of CSUN’s cinema and television arts‘ multimedia production option.

The relay will take place from 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 27, to 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 28, at the university located on 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge.

“When we speak to organizations and classes on campus, we ask people, ‘Who has a family member who has cancer? Who has a friend who has cancer? Who knows someone who has cancer,’” said Shaffer. “Usually, by the time we have asked these three questions, every hand is raised.

“Cancer touches everyone,” she said. “There are many, many forms of cancer, and through events like Relay for Life, money is raised for cancer research. And more people are surviving, thanks in part to money raised on campuses like CSUN.”

Penelope Lopez, vice president and chair of Colleges Against Cancer’s Cal State Northridge division., agreed.

“Once you attend and participate in a relay, you’ll never want to stop. I’m the perfect example,” Lopez said. “I have been relaying for seven years now, and I really enjoy it. Not only am I honoring my loved ones but I’m also relaying to help the loved ones of others.”

Each year, more than 4 million people in more than 20 countries take part in this global phenomenon to raise much-needed funds and awareness about cancer. “This event is about education,” said Schaffer.

“This event is also about celebration and remembrance,” she said. “Every year, we have people return who are survivors. A few years ago, twin girls – age two – came with their parents. One had cancer – the other did not. These young girls have been coming every year. Their parents come and celebrate their lives. Three years ago, an entire family came – three sons, and their parents. All three sons were CSUN alum. Their mother was a survivor. There are also many CSUN faculty, staff and students who are survivors, and as a community, we get to celebrate their being with us.”

The event is broken up into three events. The opening ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday is called CELEBRATE! This is the beginning of the relay with a Survivor Lap and Caregiver Lap. During the Survivors Lap, all cancer survivors at the event take the first lap around the track, celebrating their victory over cancer while cheered on by the other participants who line the track. Relay For Life events also recognize and celebrate caregivers, who give time, love, and support to their friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers facing cancer.

The second event, REMEMBER!, a luminaria ceremony will be held at 10 p.m. on Saturday, to remember those who lost their battle with cancer.

The next day, at 9:30 a.m., is the culminating ceremony FIGHT BACK! The ceremony inspires relay participants to take tangible action against the disease and symbolizes the emotional commitment each participant can make in the fight against cancer. The action taken represents what they are willing to do for themselves, for their loved ones and for their community to fight cancer year-round.

“While this is a serious event, it is also a fun event. We celebrate! We are part of a larger community who all are working for a purpose,” said Schaffer.

For more information about the event please visit their website at http://relay.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLFY13National?pg=informational&fr_id=48147&type=fr_informational&sid=128433.

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