GV holds Relay For Life


GVL / Samuel Nelson

Melia Williams, Staff Writer

Each year, Grand Valley State University hosts the annual Relay For Life fundraising event to raise money for individuals battling cancer. This 12-hour event began at 6 p.m. on March 31 and went until the early morning of April 1. 

“We say cancer never sleeps, so neither do we,” said Vice-President of the American Cancer Association at GVSU Toni Poland. 

Poland first got involved in the American Cancer Association as a sophomore. She said at first she saw it as a cool experience where she could really make a difference. 

“I enjoy doing it because it’s just such a good cause,” Poland said. “It makes you feel good every time you kind of put in the work or make some strides to make a difference.”

Although people may assume the event is just running, in reality there’s much more to it. There were performers, other GVSU organizations and various vendors such as Kona Ice, Bliss Tea and Chick-Fil-A. The event also consisted of ceremonies dedicated to survivors or loved ones that were lost to cancer. 

“We have teams that are registered and we usually ask that one person from each team walks at all points during the night,” Poland said. “We’re all just coming together to make a difference in fundraise for the American Cancer Society.”

The American Cancer Society at GVSU is just one of many societies all over the region that helps to educate individuals on college campuses everywhere. 

“So we really work throughout the year to educate the community on any stuff that’s new in the cancer research industry,” Poland said. 

She said currently making a no smoke proposal on campus is one of their priorities since it is a leading cause of cancer.  

Due to some people not having accessibility to certain treatments or programs when struggling with cancer, the American Cancer Society at GVSU aimed to support this cause with their fundraising and the $15 registration fee for the relay. 

“Recently, a lot of the funding that is currently being fundraised goes to diversity, equity and inclusion within cancer care,” Poland said. “There’s just a difference in what is available for people, so that’s what currently the money is going towards to make it so that anyone who needs care for any sort of cancer is receiving that.”

This annual event isn’t the only way to support the cause of the American Cancer Society. The organization is always doing a number of fundraisers throughout the school year that students could get involved in and potentially join the club. 

“I would say to follow us on our social media, especially Instagram and just keep up with what we’re doing on campus,” Poland said. “We are always looking for new members so they can contact us about that.” 

The Relay-For-Life event only happens once a year, but students and community members can look forward to making their own team and participating in the event at this time next year.