Relay for Life put on to fundraise for cancer research


Attendees at Relay for Life were able to walk around the track in support of those facing cancer and those who have lost loved ones. 

Avery Staker

Iowa State students and families in the Ames community gathered at Lied Recreation Athletic Center on Saturday for the annual Relay for Life event.

Activities were provided for participants, like volleyball, football, bags, music and Frisbee. There was also an American Cancer Society (ACS) trivia game for prizes and a photo booth with props for participants to show their support for Relay for Life on social media.

Relay for Life is put on by the ACS as their main means of fundraising. All of the proceeds made at Relay for Life are used to fund research, promotions or headquarter functions.

Money is raised with a participation fee of $15, silent auctions, donation promotions and participants paying for a lantern to decorate and release during the Luminaria Ceremony at 8 p.m.

The silent auctions obtain auction items from various donors in the Ames community. This year, the silent auction had gift cards, Iowa State apparel, tickets to Iowa’s professional hockey and basketball team’s games and much more.

Sponsors, such as U.S. Cellular and Love Your Melon, set up tables with snacks, drinks, swag and information. Participants could pledge to lead a healthier lifestyle at one table by signing posters that said “Ban the Tan” in support of skin cancer and “I pledge to quit” in support of lung cancer. At another table, participants could sign up for Iowa State’s Blood Drive and learn about what the university is doing to contribute to cancer research.

Much of the fundraising goes to the ACS’s Hope Lodges, which are used to house cancer patients going through treatments.

“[Hope Lodges] are specifically dedicated to cancer patients undergoing treatment that requires them to stay in a certain location,” said Ashley Goreczny, assistant professor of marketing and Relay for Life volunteer. “For example, our guest speaker today lived here [in Ames], so instead of driving three hours for each treatment, ACS was able to house her.”

Participants could write an inspirational or supportive card to cancer patients at Iowa’s Hope Lodges in Iowa City. Goreczny said she decided to participate because of her mom.

“My mom works at headquarters in Atlanta,” Goreczny said. “When she started working there, our family learned about the mission. Cancer also runs in our family; all of our grandparents have either passed away from it or recovered.”

Katrina McCarty, senior in agricultural and life sciences education, talked about her experiences with Relay for Life and what it means to her.

“I have been relaying my entire life because my mom passed away from cancer when I was four years old,” McCarty said. “My whole family started relaying as a way to support cancer patients and survivors. […] [Relay for Life] is really fun. There’s lots of families here so it’s really nice to join in a community event and serve Story County. It’s just $15 to participate and we have lots of different entertainment and food. It’s really just a great time to support ACS and give back.”