Relay For Life kicked off its sixth philanthropy event at Randolph-Macon this past weekend. The event was held on Saturday, May 3 from 6 p.m. until Sunday, May 4 at 6 a.m. There were 28 teams registered, which totaled 337 participants, not to mention all the walk-on participants totaling over 400 altogether.
Junior Kylie Wash, fundraising co-chair for R-MC’s Relay for Life committee, hails from Mechanicsville, Va. And participated in this year’s event.
“I am a Relay volunteer,” Wash said, “because many people in my life have battled cancer, and many of them have been lost.”
In her first year as a Relay participant at R-MC, Wash alone raised over $1,500 in honor of her father who passed away from glioblastoma multiform when she was only 15 years old.
“My aunts and my grandmother have fought cancer as well,” Wash said. “It took a lot of strength to join Relay this year, but I kept my head held high.”
Not only was it Wash’s first year as a committee member, but she also became a team captain and was the top individual fundraiser on R-MC’s campus.
“I volunteer so much because I strongly believe in community,” Wash said. “If everyone made the sacrifice of their time at least once a week, the world would be a much different place.”
This year, Wash also donated eight inches of her hair at Relay to the “Look Good Feel Better” campaign. This program provides cancer patients undergoing treatment with wigs and makeovers.
“It was my favorite experience because I know how much it will mean to someone undergoing treatment to wear my hair and feel beautiful again,” Wash said. “That alone means so much to me; that I can change someone’s life without ever having to meet them.”
Wash said she regularly volunteers not only for Relay, but other causes as well.
“Volunteering is everything to me,” Wash said. “I am so fortunate to have what I have in my life, and I feel like it is my duty to give something back.”
Wash explained how Relay For Life has changed her life in a positive way.
“Before I joined Relay,” Wash said, “I felt powerless against cancer; it had threatened or taken many people in my life whom I loved dearly, but in Relay For Life, I am constantly surrounded by people who are as passionate as I am about finding a cure, and it is truly an inspiring and transcending experience.”
Wash advised students to get involved as much as they can throughout their time at R-MC and to also think about joining the Relay committee.
“You never know how much you can get out of joining a certain organization or club,” Wash said. “They make up your college experience. These activities make me feel whole and part of something bigger than I am.”
Anyone can participate and make a difference, and R-MC proved that by raising over $20,000 this year for Relay For Life.
“I was excited to see the students and the community come together to fight for a common cause,” Wash said. “It was a truly unifying experience and I was so grateful to be a part of it.”
Wash explained Relay For Life is such an important cause because people have all been affected by cancer in some way.
“If everyone joined in the fight to cure cancer, I’m almost certain we’d find a cure in our lifetime,” Wash said. “Relay for your mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Relay for everyone.”
-Chelsea Mason ’14, Junior Features Editor