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@State - the SDSU Student Newsletter

A 24-Hour Battle Against Cancer

Volunteer Students holding Relay for Life sign

“Cancer never sleeps, so for 24 hours, neither will we.”

As a teenager, Katie Foster helped her mother fight, and win, her battle against cancer. Now, as a member of the Colleges Against Cancer student organization, Foster is playing an instrumental role in society’s battle against the all-too-common disease through San Diego State University’s Relay For Life.

A record 33 teams have already signed up to participate in this year’s SDSU Relay for Life, which will take place on Saturday, April 12. Foster, the event chair, hopes that as the date approaches, even more students and community members register for the fundraising event that aims to increase cancer awareness and prevention.

The Scene of The Stride

It’s the fifth year that SDSU has hosted a 24-hour overnight Relay For Life event, but this year the scenery will be vastly different. The event kicks off at 10 am at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, with Centennial Walkway serving as the relay track and its grassy medians transforming into a tent-filled campground.

While walking the track is a Relay for Life staple, Foster said all 24 hours will be jam packed with activities and entertainment. From live bands and guest speakers to talent shows and outrageous games, the event is a mix of inspiration, awareness and fun.

For Hope Wortham, a junior interior design major and cancer survivor, it’s also an uplifting show of support.

“It’s beautiful to know that you’re not alone, and that you can get through whatever is going on with love and support of not only your family, but your peers as well,” she said. “Because cancer has such a negative stigma and the general public doesn’t fully understand it, it becomes even more important that those who are touched by it know that there are people out there who do get what they are going through. It makes the whole experience less isolating, which can sometimes be one of the worst parts of the disease.”

Making An Impact

Last year, about 200 participants helped raise nearly $20,000 through fundraising efforts conducted prior to and during the SDSU Relay For Life. This year, the bar has been raised to a $25,000 goal, according to Foster.

Relay for Life supports cure-focused research, but the dollars raised also directly support cancer patients through services including housing accommodations during treatment, beauty and self-image consultations for chemotherapy patients and one-on-one personal support from survivors.

“You don’t have to be in a lab to make a difference,” Foster said. “Showing up means you’re part of the cure. Raising the $100 minimum donation means you provided 10 patients with rides to treatment.”