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Participants, teams, donations encouraged for April 10 Relay for Life

ISSUED: 11 March 2015
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Students at Shepherd University are in the final stages of planning this year’s Relay for Life, which will take place on Friday, April 10, at the Wellness Center.

Rachel Crum, community service and service learning coordinator and advisor to the student-led committee that plans Relay for Life, said this year’s goals are to register 650 participants and 50 teams, and to raise $60,000. So far at least 38 teams and 312 participants have signed up, and $13,838 has been raised. Shepherd works with an American Cancer Society community manager to set each year’s goals.

This is the 13th year Shepherd has sponsored a Relay that anyone from the campus and community can participate in.

“A lot of our teams are student groups and organizations,” Crum said. “Some are groups of friends, or students living in the same residence hall, or they’re in a class together. Some of our teams come from churches or organizations outside the university. Anyone can walk in off the street the day of Relay and join us.”

Crum said many campus groups and organizations use Relay for their community service project throughout the year. One example is Crochet for a Cure, where a group of friends who have a common interest in crocheting are working this year to raise money.

“They are awesome,” Crum said. “They have made hats and ribbons and scarves, and everything that they make they’re selling for their Relay team, which I think is pretty amazing.”

Crum said the committee is also working hard to sell more luminarias this year. The American Cancer Society requires every Relay event to have survivor and caregiver laps and a luminaria ceremony.

“They tend to honor, celebrate, and cherish those who are still fighting the battle, those who have won the battle, and those who unfortunately we’ve lost due to this devastating disease,” Crum said.

The luminarias, small candles that burn inside paper bags, are lit in honor or memory of someone. A lighting ceremony will take place outside the Wellness Center.  The bags are usually arranged to spell the word ‘hope,’ and the names written on each luminaria bag will be read out loud while the candles are being lit.

“And it’s really a time to come together as a community and support one another because nine out of ten of us have probably lost someone very close to us due to cancer,” Crum said. “People will stay outside watching the luminarias burn just remembering who they lost, or why they’re so thrilled that a person close to them has survived cancer and is still in their life. It’s a very touching ceremony.”

Anyone can purchase a luminaria for $10. Crum said students are selling them on March 27 and April 3 in the Ram’s Den during lunchtime. Anyone purchasing a luminaria during that time will be able to write a personalized message on the bag. Crum said luminarias can also be purchased online and at the Wellness Center until 7 p.m. the day of the event.

Anyone wanting to participate in Relay for Life can find our more information and register online at

Listen to the interview with Rachel Crum HERE.

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