February 24, 2012 — The University of Virginia's student-run Relay for Life chapter will hold its main event, an overnight walk/run for the American Cancer Society, from 6 p.m. on April 13 to 6 a.m. on April 14 at Carr's Hill Field. Staff, faculty, students and community members are invited to participate or donate to this year's relay.
"We fundraise all year," said Melissa Cunningham, a College of Arts & Sciences undergraduate and member of the U.Va. chapter of Relay for Life. The major fundraiser, April 13-14, is an overnight event to "signify that cancer never sleeps," she said. "We raised around $86,000 last year, and our goal for this year's is $100,000." Nearly 1,000 participants are expected, she said.
The international Relay for Life organization began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt of Tacoma, Washington, wanted to raise money for the American Cancer Society by doing one of his favorite things – running marathons. Klatt spent 24 hours running the track, racking up an astounding 84 miles. Through donations from family and friends, he raised $27,000.
Today, the local events, which take place in 21 countries, last 12 hours and participants – the vast majority of whom walk – are in teams of 10 to 15 people. At least one team member walks the track at all times, while the rest may gather in makeshift campsites or participate in the multitude of activities.
U.Va.'s event will include musical performances, games, masseurs and much more. Additionally, there will be events honoring cancer survivors, fighters and those who have died.
To sign up for the event or donate, visit here.