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Submitted by JessicaW on February 2, 2011

Celebrate. Remember. Fight back. These words printed on banners and signs can be seen all around campus in preparation for the 2011 American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Our on-campus kickoff meeting was held on Monday, January 31, 2011 at the Levee and drew an impressive crowd despite the rescheduled date because of the intense snow storms the week before. Fairfield’s own Colleges Against Cancer ran the event, showing students and faculty two heartwarming videos of previous relays that helped to show ‘why we Relay’ as well as announced this year’s theme: birthdays.

David Weis ’14 was the guest speaker at our kickoff event, speaking about his own recent experiences with cancer. While undergoing a routine physical over the summer to prepare him for his arrival here at Fairfield, David’s doctors found thyroid cancer in his neck. In a moment his life changed from being a teenager who was overly excited about his upcoming freshman year to being a cancer patient. Traveling back and forth from the hospital wore him out and on August 20, just over a week before move-in day, he went through a full cheap free delivery. . In the days where he should have been packing and saying his goodbyes, he was healing from the surgery that removed his thyroid and the cancer.

Stories like David’s as well as those of survivors, caregivers, and friends of those who are still fighting or who have lost their battles are the reason for Relay. This is an all-night event that takes place in over 5,000 communities in America as well as 19 other countries worldwide. The tradition will continue at Fairfield on April 29th overnight into April 30th. There will be entertainment, food, and crowds of people rallying together to spread light, love, and hope for those who have none as well as raising money for a cure for this deadly disease.

Anyone who wishes to become involved is invited to do so, whether by giving a small donation or even becoming a team captain. We are also looking for more entertainment groups, if any students are interested or have ideas. On February 17 at 7:30 in Bannow 131 there will be a team captain’s meeting for all those who have chosen to be captains.

I have chosen this year to become a team captain and have gathered together around 20 of my friends who will help me raise money. This year especially Relay has a very important place in my heart. Just over a month ago my grandfather lost his almost 5-year battle with Renal Cell Carcinoma. He was like a father to me and his passing has been one of the hardest things my family and I have ever had to go through. This year, not only do I Relay for all those who have been struck by cancer, but I Relay for my Dadoo.

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