Relay for Life exceeds goals


Last weekend the Relay for Life Planning Committee, in cooperation with The American
Cancer Society (ACS), hosted NMU’s fourth annual Relay for Life where they met their goal to raise money and awareness for cancer research.

The ACS gave NMU’s Relay for Life a goal of $16,000 in an attempt to challenge them after coming $3,000 short last year. The group managed to go above and beyond even before the race began. In the end they raised $22,177.28.

The relay consisted of 25 teams with at least one member on the track at all times, walking for 24 continuous hours said Sarah Herrle, a junior psychology major and co-team development chair.

According to the ACS Web site, 559,650 Americans died from cancer last year. The participants of the relay walked in their memory, and also to support cancer survivors and those still battling cancer.

Like many other members of the Relay for Life Planning Committee, Herrle has had a deep personal connection with cancer and its effects, having lost loved ones to the disease.

“Relay for Life is such an important event for me, because cancer has left such gaping
holes in my life, and I put my heart and soul into this event, every year, and that’s my healing,” said Herrle.

Committee member, Brandon Erkkila, a senior health education major and a survivor of testicular cancer, said he was been moved by the relay.

“It really helps me to see all of the kids who I go to college with supporting my fight against cancer, and to see so many people who aren’t affected by cancer who are here learning about it and trying to raise money for a cure,” said Erkkila. “It’s a beautiful thing to see.”

NMU student and cancer survivor Jessica Butina also spoke during the relay.

“I come here, and there are a lot of people who we save and a lot people that we help. But I don’t think anyone should die, I don’t think anyone should be told, ‘I’m sorry, you have cancer.’ I hate that we have to lose to this disease. It should be beaten,” Butina said.

President Les Wong, who was also present at the relay, addressed the crowd about how
proud he was of those who had gathered to walk and find a cure for cancer.

“There is so much criticism of young people, that they are selfish and self-centered, and that’s kind of hard to believe tonight,” said Wong. “This makes me so proud to be a part of NMU.”