Fighting cancer with an all-nighter

Relay for Life features variety of games, activities

By Sally Ann Moyer

Baylor’s fourth annual Relay for Life, a community and campuswide event to benefit the American Cancer Society, will occur from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday on Fountain Mall.

This year, 56 teams have registered for Baylor’s event, including more than 700 individuals who are committed to attend. Round Rock senior Nathan Robins, Relay for Life chairman, has been involved with the event for the past 15 years.

“A lot of people do it because they have had a very close connection in their family. For me it started out of habit almost,” Robins said.

The first Relay for Life that Robins attended introduced him to the hope the event inspires.

“What keeps me going is really just seeing the hope it brings people and the importance it holds for survivors and the families of those lost and those fighting cancer,” Robins said.

San Antonio junior Erica Benken, Relay for Life public relations chair, became involved with Relay for Life through her membership in Baylor’s Theta Omicron chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha.

“What I love is just seeing how many people on campus really get involved, because cancer affects so many more people than you may think,” Benken said.

Houston junior Huong Nguyen, Relay for Life vice co-chair, said the event is the perfect format for college students.

“College students like to stay up all night as it is,” Nguyen said. “It really just reminds me how important it is to get the word out about cancer prevention and that there are people going through the same thing.”

Relay for Life will include a variety of events to keep participants entertained and awake all night.

“You want someone from your team walking the track the entire time because cancer never sleeps, so neither do we,” Robins said.

Activities will include a station to pie professors in the face, ultimate Frisbee, flag football, sand volleyball, a hula hoop contest, Zumba, Bearobics, free food, musical performances and a dunking booth with members of the football team.

“There’s a lot that goes on. There’s always something to do the whole time that they’re there,” Benken said.

Most of the activities throughout the night are open to the public.

“Relay is open for anyone to just stop by. Certainly, we encourage them to bring some money to participate in the on-site fundraisers,” Robins said.

This year’s Relay for Life theme is “Relay Broadcasting Company: Where Cancer Just Got Cancelled.”

“Teams and individual participants are encouraged to dress up according to the theme and decorate their campsite,” Robins said.

Robins said cancer survivors will judge the costumes, expected to range from “Jersey Shore” to “Gilligan’s Island” cast imitations.

The more serious side of the event will occur at 9:30 p.m. Friday with the luminaria ceremony, a time to honor survivors.

“It’s the time of remembrance so it’s probably the least high energy part of the event and it’s probably the most important to a lot of people,” Robins said.

This year’s ceremony will also include more survivor involvement than in past years.

“Its main purpose is to honor and remember those who have fought the battle with cancer and to honor those who have defeated it,” Nguyen said.

Survivors will participate in lighting up the words “hope” and “cure” throughout the ceremony.

“You can really see it gives those currently battling cancer more hope to really persevere to get through what they’re going through because there are so many people out there supporting them,” Benken said.

Donations can be made online at, or by contacting anyone on a team or committee.

“Registration is technically open until Aug. 31 and we keep fundraising for Baylor Relay for Life until then,” Robins said.

All proceeds will directly benefit the American Cancer Society.

“They really reach out to the specific needs of the people that they’re working with, to really help with what they’re going through,” Benken said.