The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Kickoff event starts Relay for Life activities

A new fundraising competition will give registered Relay for Life teams even more incentive to raise money for cancer research.

The competition will be modeled after an NCAA March Madness bracket, said junior Chase O’Keefe, a Relay for Life co-chair. Each team will face off with another; whichever team has raised the most money moves on to the next round, and so on. The winning team will receive a prize, which has yet to be decided.

O’Keefe said he and the two other co-chairs, Ellen Voermans and Briana Gruenewald, got the idea from a workshop they attended at the
University of Minnesota.

“All these different colleges get together, and even different communities get together, and they just share ideas of what they did … of what’s a fun way to get people involved,” O’Keefe said.

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The March Madness idea branched off an activity that organizers at Virginia Tech had worked on previously. In order to participate in the competition, teams need to have registered and paid their fee by Feb. 27.

Michelle Shufelt, the Colleges Against Cancer adviser and supervisor for Relay for Life, said a similar fundraising strategy has been successful in the past at a lot of other area schools, such as UW-Stout and the University of Minnesota.

O’Keefe also said that while team captains have expressed interest and excitement about the competition, he and the other co-chairs want to use it as a springboard for other ideas in the future.

The festivities surrounding the annual event Relay for Life will begin this Friday night with an informational kickoff event at Higherground.

Food and refreshments will be provided at the event, which is scheduled to start at 5 p.m. and last for two hours. There will also be music, a guest speaker and event organizers who can answer any question newcomers may have.

Relay for Life will be held on the indoor track in the McPhee Center. It will run through the night, from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m on April 8-9.

This year’s event is called “Relay Among the Stars,” which will incorporate a Hollywood theme, including a red carpet leading to a VIP room and a competition for the best-decorated campsite. Because they wanted to incorporate more affected people into the event, O’Keefe said, cancer survivors will be the judges of the campsites.

Junior Jackie Rollmann, who participated in Relay for Life for the first time last year with ALD-PES, said the event is not only a good cause, but also a “good community builder.”

“My favorite part of it was actually seeing people who have gone through chemo and overcome it doing their lap,” Rollmann said. “It was
really inspirational.”

Teams have up until the day of the event to sign up. However, O’Keefe urged people to sign up as soon as possible because the registration fee will continue to increase.

Though most people choose to participate in Relay for Life with a team, it isn’t necessary. O’Keefe said that is why if anyone is even a little interested in participating but has no team, he or she should still check it out.

“Being at the event is just remarkable — to just see students out there supporting each other and supporting the event,” O’Keefe said. “Once you see everybody walking and everybody cheering — it just feels awesome.”

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Kickoff event starts Relay for Life activities