With the American Cancer Society estimating that more than 1,500 people die each day from cancer, it is no wonder that students like senior Jennifer Nielsen and freshman Alexis Rodarmel want to find a cure any way possible. For them, Relay for Life provides that opportunity.
April 30 at the St. Catherine University soccer field, Nielsen, Rodarmel and 18 teams of St. Thomas students, as of now, will participate in Relay for Life. This 12-hour event sponsored by the American Cancer Society takes place in communities across the globe.
The event is to celebrate the lives of those who battle cancer, remember lost loved ones and fight the disease. Students can sign up as part of a team or enter as a single participant. Then they work together to raise at least $100 per team to fight cancer.
“It’s a small thing you can do that can affects so many people,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen is the president of College Students Against Cancer and part of the committee for the Relay for Life with St. Kate’s.
College Students for Cancer became a club in 2008 and raised about $22,000 for the American Cancer Society.
“I hadn’t done relay since before 2008, and I hope to do it the rest of my life,” Nielsen said.
Rodarmel started participating in Relay for Life when she was 15 years old, after her friend Lindsay Gabe was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“It was really hard on me because she had a very profound impact on my life, the things I believe in and how I hold myself and what kinds of standards I have,” Rodarmel said. “She touched the lives of a lot of people, my mother included. I wanted to get involved again for her.”
Rodarmel’s team name is Gabe’s Babes, in memory of her friend, and the team includes her friends at St. Thomas. Relay for Life is very important to Rodarmel because her family has had many experiences with cancer, she said.
“My mom, my two aunts and my grandma have all had cancer, so it really hits home for me,” Rodarmel said. “It’s just something I can get behind and I really support.”
Rodarmel hopes her group can raise at least $500, while Nielsen and the 18 or more teams from College Students Against Cancer hope to raise $25,000 this year.
“By raising money for research, that is our best bet right now,” Rodarmel said. “I definitely miss my friend. She was a really big part of my life. So the best thing you can do is donate and get behind the cause.”
Those interested in participating in Relay for Life with a St. Thomas team can contact Jennifer Nielsen at email@example.com or sign up at www.relayforlife.org/tommiekatiemn.
Meg Tvrdik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.