February 2013
Howard University Capstone October 2012  

Students Spearhead Efforts to Raise Awareness about Cancer

By Criscia Dawson, intern, Office of University Communications

Since 1986, Relay for Life has been the American Cancer Society’s largest fundraising initiative, raising more than $4 billion toward the advancement of cancer research. It’s an event that also draws together 4 million people in 20 different countries, with a common goal in mind—help raise awareness to eradicate the disease. In 2011, Howard student Tynisha Sudberry established a Relay for Life chapter at the University in honor of her mother, whom she lost to breast cancer at the age of five. Now in its third year, Howard’s event is expected to be better than ever.

“We are so excited and we have a lot of things planned,” says Emmilyne Victor, this year’s campus coordinator for the event. “Our goal is to raise $20,000. The first year we raised $13,000 and the second year we raised $11,000. So, this year we are definitely looking to expand that.”

The relay event will be held on April 12 in Burr Gymnasium from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., beginning with cancer survivors leading the first lap around the track. As the event progresses, teams will begin to take the track and also participate in the Luminaria ceremony, which is devoted to cancer survivors or people who have lost someone to cancer.

Victor calls the ceremony a “prayer service” but says that during the entire event you can also expect “performances, free food and free items from Howard’s bookstore and WHUR radio station. And, of course, you can expect the walk,” she says. “I want them to truly come in celebrating who they’ve lost, remembering the times they shared and fighting back for the cause.”

New activities will be added to this year’s event at Howard, including a yoga instructor and a Zumba instructor, a basketball tournament and a halftime show that allows students to show off their talents. There will also be professionals from the National Ovarian Cancer Society, the Breast Cancer Society and other organizations at the event to inform participants of the different types of cancers.

 “I really want the participants to have an experience through Relay for Life. I want them to truly come in celebrating who they’ve lost, remembering the times they shared and fighting back for the cause,” says Victor. “I want them to have an entire experience. I also want people to gain knowledge and factual information about cancer and how it impacts the African-American community.”

For more information and to register for the event, visit www.relayforlife.org/howarduniversity. You can either start a team or join a team.

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