Fighting Against Cancer

One in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer during their life time. The 2011 Relay for Life at UC Irvine is here to do something about it. With 1,283 participants and 99 teams, the event has raised more than $21,570 this year alone. Each team chooses a cancer to adopt, creates pamphlets and spreads the word.

“I participate in Relay for Life because I never want to hear the words, ‘You have cancer,’ ever again,” said Relay for Life chair, second-year Pauline Phan said. “Even though I have participated in Relay for Life for over six years now, it never gets old … there is no other day that can even compare to my experience at Relay for Life. Honestly, it’s 24 hours of magic.”

This huge event is hosted and planned by UC Irvine’s Colleges Against Cancer (CAC). Every member in CAC is or has been affected by cancer personally or through their families and friends. UCI’s Colleges Against Cancer’s mission statement is education, advocacy, survivorship and relay. They are dedicated to eliminating cancer by spreading awareness through volunteer work on campus and throughout the community.

“It’s a good cause ran by a fairly small club,” said Paula Do, a third-year chemistry major. “There are no forced commitments. We all have a common cause which is to spread cancer awareness and to inform people about what they can do to prevent it and how they can help.” UC Irvine’s Relay for Life will be held on Saturday, April 30 starting at noon and ending on Sunday, April 31 at noon.

Relay for life has three themes: celebrate, remember, and fight back! It is a 24 hour event because it represents the fact that cancer never sleeps. Relay for Life is an annual life-changing event that brings together thousands of people to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost to the disease, and fight back against a disease that takes too much.

UCI’s dedicated Colleges Against Cancer club members have planned fun-filled events to last all day and throughout the night as walkers and runners from each team fill the track to celebrate, remember and fight back against cancer.There will be special performances by UCI’s dance crew such as KAMA and INSA. Along with talented musician groups formed by UCI students such as Rockets Away and Free and Easy, Electronic Dance Union (EDU) will be DJ-ing in between while the performers take a break. Added to the festivities will be a variety of games. Each game will be channeled to promote healthy lifestyle or awareness about a specific cancer. There will also be fun competitions, such as UCI’s Harry Potter Club’s game of Quidditch.Throughout the 24 hours, there will be specific theme laps for walkers to participate in such as the limbo lap, three-legged race, a dance lap and more.

The day will be greeted with cancer survivor and cancer caretaker speakers and during the night, the annual Luminaria event will take place. The Luminaria ceremony is to remember and honor those touched by cancer. As the sun sets, volunteers and survivors will write the name of someone who has had or has cancer while placing a small candle in the bag. These illuminated bags will be decorated all throughout the track. It is the opportunity for people to come together to remember loved ones lost to cancer and honor those who have won their battles. Every member of the Relay team has their own personal story inspiring their involvement.

“Cancer has affected my family,” co-president Charlene Ip said. “My aunt, grandma, great grandma, and my mom have had tumors and cancer. It’s one of those things that means a lot to me and something I don’t want to stop doing, even after college.”

“When I was in 8th grade, my dad was diagnosed with brain cancer,” Relay Chair Devon Sullivan said. “He attended the first one with me. My family and I continued to do it in his honor.”

“My grandpa died of cancer before I was born and it motivated me to do something about it,” co- president Jaymee Nakata said.

“I’m a nursing major and so I do clinics in the hospital and I work at the veterans Affairs Hospital in an oncology unit. I get to really see what the cancer patients go through and how much it affects their family. I keep doing this because it makes me feel like I’m doing something. Every year I find a new reason to relay.”

You have heard the stories of UC Irvine’s Colleges Against Cancer. Now, they want to hear yours! It’s not too late to join one of Relay for Life’s countless teams, at UCI, on April 30. Come out to the 24 hour life changing event to celebrate, remember and fight back against cancer.