Hope College students participated in Relay for Life this past Friday and Saturday for a wonderful night of remembrance and resilience. A total 32 teams and 710 participants worked together to raise $61,314.95. The top participants (based on dollars raised individually) were Andrew Bennet (’17), Brenden Merriman (‘17) and Diane Portfleet (of the English Department). The top team donations were from the Mortar Board, the Sigma Iota Beta sorority and Team Hope. The Delta Phi and Dorian sororities made it to the top five donating teams.
Earlier this year, the 2016 American Cancer Society Relay For Life Nationwide Awards and Recognition Program recognized Hope’s 2015 Relay For Life with two awards. Hope’s program received a Nationwide Division Per Capita Award and Hope’s Dianne Portfleet Alcor Chapter of the Mortar Board national honor society won the Nationwide Team of Excellence Award. Hope and the chapter received the same awards last year, with the 2014 Hope Relay For Life event also receiving the 2015 Lakeshore Division Heart of Relay Award for Survivor Engagement.
Events such as Relay For Life and Dance Marathon show that Hope students understand the importance of giving back to the greater community. According to the American Cancer Society, more than one million Americans get cancer each year. It is a complex group of diseases. Causes can include genetic factors, lifestyle factors, infection and environmental exposure. There are currently 5,200 volunteers who staff and coordinate Relay for Life in over 20 countries. Global partners include associations in Canada, France, India, Japan and South Africa. Relay For Life began in 1985. One May in Tacoma, Washington, Dr. Gordon Klatt decided to walk and run around a track for 24 hours. He wanted to raise money and awareness for the efforts of the American Cancer Society. Klatt’s legacy can be seen in Relay For Life events today. The year after Klatt first walked, 19 teams raised money at the Stadium Bowl in Tacoma. Today Relay For Life has raised over five billion dollars to help people around the world. It is a global event that is important to so many people. Check out the American Cancer Society website for ways to get involved.