Kent State community raises more than $50,000 at Relay For Life

Individuals+supporting+family+members+and+friends+came+together+to+form+the+Rising+Star+team+in+this+years+Relay+for+Life+event+held+at+Dix+Field+House%2C+Saturday+and+Sunday.

Individuals supporting family members and friends came together to form the Rising Star team in this year’s Relay for Life event held at Dix Field House, Saturday and Sunday.

Austin Farber

People flocked to the Kent State Field House Friday night and into Saturday morning to support the university’s 18-hour Relay for Life, raising $54,431 to help combat cancer.

More than 50 teams and 1,800 participants from Kent State and the Kent community came together to walk for a cure for cancer.

“Everyone is here for someone,” said Terry Hugo, a senior business management major. “Whether they … a family member or a loved one (were) affected by cancer; it’s just a powerful moment to have everyone here doing something so great and raising awareness together. This is what Kent State is about: this right here.”

Hugo has participated in Kent State’s Relay for Life for the past four years.

“It’s kind of insane to me how it’s grown and how it’s done,” Hugo said. “It has gotten better every year. It’s just one moment where we all come together. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from; we are all here together.”

Maggie McQuaide, a junior human development/ family studies major as well as director of the event, has also been involved with Relay for Life for multiple years.  

“I’ve been involved with Relay for Life since I was in the 8th grade,” McQuaide said. “I saw the table at Blastoff my freshman year here at Kent (State) and just signed up. It’s a lot of work, but it’s totally worth it today when you see everyone here.”

Relay For Life events occur across the nation as a way to support the American Cancer Society. Planning for Kent State’s event began in August 2015.

“A lot of my family has had cancer and that’s why I wanted to find ways to continue giving back,” said junior Kaitlyn Somody, an early childhood education major. “I joined Relay for Life when I was a freshman and I’ve done it every year since.”

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Relay for Life at Kent State.

President Beverly Warren spoke at the opening ceremonies to kick off the event. 

“I have had a little introduction to this thing called cancer,” Warren said. “And so being able to come here and be with you all tonight and help with the kick off means so much for me.”

Warren recently announced that she is currently battling breast cancer.

“You are really out here doing something so very noble,” Warren said, as she addressed those in attendance. “There are so many people who have been struck by cancer. It has affected almost every life and family in this world. I can tell you also—from personal experience—it means so very much to feel the support of family, friends and those people who care about really working so very hard to contribute funds to look for best practices, research and care to contribute funds to eradicate cancer.”

“I commend Kent State University for really stepping up and making a difference,” Warren said. “You have been such a filling profit community in so many causes, but this Relay for Life cause is really, really special.”

Warren kicked off the event with a $200 personal donation. 

“I think this year’s Relay for Life is extra special to the Kent State community because of what … Warren is going through,” said Troy Kuhns, a sophomore criminology and justice studies major. “It’s a decease that a lot of people can get behind because it has touched the lives of so many people.”

Junior fashion merchandising major Gretchen Geib said that by seeing how cancer affects individuals, she feels the Relay For Life event is a way to help others on their journey for survival. 

 “I think that this has always been a bigger event at Kent (State), but I think now that (Warren) has came out and said she has cancer, more people came out to support the cause and the Kent State community,” Geib said.

Austin Farber is the social services reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]