Cancer survivors, caregivers, UNC students and community members will come together on Friday, April 5, for UNC’s annual Relay for Life event starting at 6 p.m. in Woollen Gym to remember and fight back against cancer.
“We all come together as one unit and we fight for this one cause that we are all supportive of," said Olivia Park, one of three co-directors of Relay for Life of UNC. "We are all fighting to end cancer."
Attendees of this 15-hour event, which ends April 6 at 9 a.m., will stay up throughout the night with some participants walking laps the entire time to reflect that cancer never sleeps.
“They have to do more than just stay up one night, they have to fight their entire lives through this," said Hannah Knotts, public relations chairperson of Relay for Life of UNC. "We are just doing one simple night, and we are doing it for them."
Relay for Life of UNC, an organization that fundraises throughout the year for the American Cancer Society, has been planning this event since September under the leadership of three co-directors, an executive board and 12 committees ranging from multimedia to corporate sponsorships. Madison Buchanan, the group’s American Cancer Society Representative, has also helped with the planning.
This year, the event has the theme “A Passport to Hope” to signify that cancer affects everyone around the world, and Woollen Gym will be decorated with flags from different nations.
The first lap of the event is for survivors and caregivers, who will be cheered on by those in attendance. After these laps, everyone will join in and then take turns making laps, continuing throughout the event to represent the ongoing fight against cancer.
At the event, there will be food, entertainment, games and fundraisers for everyone to enjoy — a photo booth, a Miss Relay Pageant, midnight Zumba and a sunrise walk on Hooker Field.
While the entire event is full of great moments, one of the most meaningful for attendees is lighting luminaria to remember and honor those that have passed and celebrate cancer survivors.