Community walks together to Relay for Life


HOPE’S MISSION TO STOP CANCER — The Hope community came together to honor those touched by cancer in their lives, in an overnight fundraiser. (Kelly Ocock)

The Relay for Life is part of a national fund-raising initiative for the American Cancer Society. Hope College’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer sponsored the annual Relay for Life this past Friday. The event took off with its opening ceremony at 7 p.m. and continued for 12 hours. The overnight fundraiser involved individuals from all student groups, residence halls, neighborhoods and departments.

The theme of Hope’s relay this year was Candyland and the Dow gymnasium was decorated in colorful candy attire. Several activities for students were scattered around the gym floor, including a blow-up bounce house, basketball and cornhole. Students set up their assigned areas with furniture and games, and settled in to participate. Many survivor and caregivers represented what Hope was fundraising for and could be identified by their purple survivors t-shirts. Each team had a survivor to sponsor and pictures with their survivors were taken.

Throughout the relay, a number of traditional events took place. Several speeches were given by the relay directors and by President Voskuil during the Opening Ceremony. This kick-off event celebrated everyone affected by cancer. President Voskuil gave his testimony on his own personal fight against cancer and the effects it had on his family. He spoke to Hope’s mission to battle cancer and all its damage. The Survivor’s Lap followed as a celebration of cancer survivors and caregivers. From there, each team had members walking in shifts along the Dow track, lap after lap.

These actions helped raise funds for research, education, advocacy and service in the fight against cancer.

Relay had multiple SAC events taking place within the relay to keep the students up and lively. The relay had a visit from an illusionist, a game of trivia and a glow rave. Relay was filled with excitement and dedication to the cause.

The Luminaria Ceremony is a candle-lit event, honoring those who have passed away and those who continue to battle. This takes place in the middle of the relay event.

A student of the Hope community touched by cancer in her own life bravely shared the story of her father and his fight against cancer. Small white bags were written on and decorated by each team in honor or in memory of a loved one.

Each Luminaria bag represented a loved one lost to cancer, bringing support to those affected by it and honored survivors. This powerful moment gave people the opportunity to grieve but also offered hope and comfort. The closing ceremony ended the event. We celebrated all that we’ve accomplished together and remembered those we’ve lost. Together, we committed to take action and help end the pain and suffering of cancer.

Together the Hope community raised $38,869 toward the cause.

For more information on relay or questions on how to get involved next year in 2018, email

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