Colleges Against Cancer holds annual Relay For Life

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Photo by Valeria Cardenas/ valeria.cardenas@mu.edu

More than 600 students and Milwaukee residents helped raise $60,000 for the American Cancer Society Saturday night in the annual Relay for Life, held in the Helfaer Recreation Center.

At the event, put on by the Marquette branch of Colleges Against Cancer, those in attendance walked laps around the gym from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Colleges Against Cancer has been planning the event since September.

“Marquette students love to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and this is another chance for them to support such a great cause,” said Shannon Gavin, a senior in the College of Communication and the entertainment chairwoman of the group. “We are able to honor survivors, remember those we have lost and continue their fight against cancer by walking through the night at Relay.”

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012 there were 1,638,910 new cases of cancer in the U.S., and 577,190 people died from cancer. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease.

Lung, breast and prostate cancer are the three most common forms of cancer; each had more than 220,000 new cases in 2012, according to the ACS.

“It’s a way to see hundreds of people coming together,” said Caitlin Toohey, a senior in the College of Health Sciences and president of the Marquette branch of Colleges Against Cancer. “It’s a fun event for a good cause.”

The night also included the Luminaria ceremony, in which participants light candles in memory of those who have died, in honor of those who survived treatment or in support of those currently fighting.

Sonya Cummins, a junior in the College of Health Sciences and the Luminaria chairwoman of the group, said the candles help represent why students are involved in the Relay for Life.

“The fight still continues,” said Cummins. “(This) one night represents a lot of things.”