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Students Affected by Cancer Rally for Relay

Students Affected by Cancer Rally for Relay

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Published by Kareem Johnson

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Published by: Kareem Johnson on Mar 07, 2011
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Students affected by cancer rally for relay By: Kareem Johnson Posted: 4/2/09 This is the first in a three-part series

centered around Relay for Life. For many Saint Louis University students, walking is just about putting one foot in front of the other. On April 25, however, this simple action will become much more than that. For the sixth year, members of the SLU community and the greater St. Louis area will participate in Relay For Life. All proceeds from the event will go toward cancer research. For many on SLU's campus, the beneficiary is more than just a positive charity-it's something that personally affects them. Senior Leah Biskup is a two-time survivor of brain cancer. She is the leader of Senior Nursing Students (and friends) team, and is on the Relay For Life's executive board. "I was diagnosed when I was fifteen, [and it] came back when I was 18," she said. Biskup's passion for participating in Relay comes from her surviving cancer, twice. "I didn't know about relay until I got to SLU," she said. "I became really passionate about relay, because if my cancer comes back again, the treatments that they used the first time and second time, obviously didn't work, so they are going to need something new. Right now there's not something new for my cancer, so hopefully through events like Relay For Life and other events hosted by ACS, we can find a cure." Biskup has raised $3,545 individually. She is also in charge of Relay For Life's mission work. "We work on the advocacy part and focusing on mission of relay and recruiting survivors to come," she said. Senior Amber Tenholder is also excited to participate in the event and to support cancer research. "I'm really passionate about cancer research and trying to find a cure," Tenholder said. "Cancer affects everyone." Co-Chair Alyson Hau has been involved with Relay for her third year now. She currently works with a committee of 40 people that combine their ideas to putstogether the event.

"I had a friend that was diagnosed with cancer in her sophomore year in college," Hau said. "That's not supposed to happen to someone. You're supposed to be healthy, you're a sophomore in college." Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, there were 1,437,180 new cases last year with an expected 565,650 deaths, or about 1,500 people a day. The state of Missouri alone has had an estimated 29,390 cases in 2008. As a result, many of the students participating in Relay For Life have personal experiences with the disease. "One of my roommates on the steering committee promoted it, one of my friends from middle school died from cancer and a lot of my family members are either survivors or passed away from cancer," sophomore Amy Dressler said. "All those were huge factors." One of the reasons that sophomore Erin Gorman is participating again this year is the upbeat atmosphere that she has experienced in the past at Relay For Life. "I did it last year, I had a great time," Gorman said. "It's a really cool experience, because survivors come, not only students. ... Being up for 12 hours, seeing everyone getting so enthusiastic about an event that is really important for the American Cancer Society." Relay For Life's event schedule includes the survivor's lap, the Luminaria Ceremony and the Fight Back ceremony. For more information on Relay for Life, visit www.slurelay.org or e-mail slurelay@gmail.com.

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