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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas Wiertella April 30, 2024

Cancer survivors take the lead

Students and members of the community worked together on NMU’s sixth annual Relay for Life event which was held this weekend to raise awareness and money for the fight against cancer.

Relay for Life was a 24-hour walk-a-thon that started in the Vandament Arena Friday, March 26 at 1 p.m. and lasted until 1 p.m.  on Saturday, March 27.  The event is put on to raise money for cancer research, services, education and advocacy, said Carl Fulsher, a community representative for the American Cancer Society.

“Relay is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever experienced,” Fulsher said.  “Everyone is different, every one is unique, and every one has a different atmosphere.”

Every year, the Relay for Life Committee sets goals that they want to reach, said Thao Do, a junior speech, language and hearing sciences major and a member of the NMU Relay for Life Committee.  Their goals this year were to have 30 teams registered and raise $25,000 by the end of the 24-hour event.

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Several area cancer survivors participate in the Survivor Lap at this year’s Relay for Life. The event raised cancer awareness and $20,000 to go toward research to find a cure. // Yin Tang/NW

They surpassed their team goal with 38 teams registered online but came up short on their goal for total money raised by raising $20,000.

Do said that she has been involved with Relay for Life for three years. She was in charge of the Luminaria Ceremony this year, which was one of the many events that took place at Relay for Life.

“The Luminaria Ceremony is one of the more emotional parts of the night,” Do said.  “It’s an hour of remembering and honoring those that have won or lost the battle (against cancer).”

All the lights in the gym were shut off for the Luminaria Ceremony and tea lights were placed in the luminaria bags that lined the gym walls. Luminaria bags are decorated in memory of someone who was affected by cancer.

Many people listened as committee members told stories of their family and friends who fought with cancer and survived or lost the fight.

“This year, we tried something new, with the use of glow sticks and a script, instead of using just a speaker,” Do said.  “We got really good feedback about it and hope to keep doing this for years to come.”

Amber Baillargeon, the chair of NMU Relay for Life Committee, has participated in 21 Relay for Lifes.  This is her fourth relay at Northern and third year on the committee.

“The reason why I participate is because cancer has affected me personally,” said Baillargeon.  “I’ve lost both my grandmothers to cancer, and my sister is a 15 year cancer survivor.”

Each team that participated in the walk was required to have one person walking at all times. Every team had a different fundraiser going on during the walk as a way to raise money on site.  Teams sold cupcakes, offered pictures with a person dressed up as the Easter Bunny and walked with a dog from the Humane Society.

“Overall, I think (Relay for Life) was extremely successful,” said Baillargeon. “We definitely had our biggest turnout in participators yet, and I hope this continues to happen next year.”

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