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Owens Community College to Host Relay for Life, Friday-Saturday, March 28-29
More than 300 faculty, staff and students and area residents will walk for over 15 consecutive hours in support of cancer awareness as Owens Community College hosts Relay for Life, Friday-Saturday, March 28-29.
Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Owens' inaugural Relay for Life will serve as the kickoff event for more than 300 similar cancer fundraising initiatives, which will occur throughout Ohio in the coming months. The event also will mark the first time that a college or university in Northwest Ohio has partnered with the American Cancer Society to host a Relay for Life.
"Owens Community College is extremely proud to collaborate with the American Cancer Society and assist in the organization's on-going efforts to make a difference in the fight against cancer," said Brian Paskvan, Owens Executive Assistant to the President and Co-Chair of the Relay for Life Committee. "Relay for Life is a unique opportunity to not only honor the courageous spirit of those individuals battling cancer, but also to raise money for continued research in hopes that some day this disease will be eliminated."
Established in 1985, Relay for Life was created to offer communities a unique, empowering and fun way to assist in the fight against cancer. Today, as the American Cancer Society's signature event, approximately 3,800 communities and eight countries participate in the cancer awareness fundraiser.
The event begins at 6 p.m. with an Opening Ceremony in the College's Student Health and Activities Center on the Toledo-area Campus. Among the many highlights will be a tribute to those individuals in attendance who have survived cancer. The survivors will take a ceremonial first lap together while cheered on by family, friends and Relay for Life participants.
One of the survivors who will be a part of the ceremonial first lap is Owens student Kristina Becerra of Toledo. According to Becerra, participating in an event such as the College's Relay for Life will be very emotional because it reminds her of life's preciousness, and how in the blink of an eye everything can be taken away.
"Cancer is an illness that can affect any one at any time," said Becerra, a sophomore majoring in biology. "The only way a cure will be found is by area communities continuing to support cancer research, prevention and awareness through these type of events. Hopefully one day people won't have to fight this deadly disease."
After graduating from Owens, Becerra, whose cancer is in remission, intends on pursuing her bachelor's degree in pharmacy at the University of Toledo.
Following the cancer survivor lap, participating teams will begin their 15-hour journey around the College's indoor track, which will conclude at 9 a.m. on Saturday (March 29). Numerous activities and entertainment will occur throughout the evening, while a representative from each team will be walking laps around the track at all times. Among the special events will include live bands, relay contests, games, singing and movies.
Beginning at 9 p.m., a Luminary Ceremony will occur outside the Student Health and Activities Center where a special tribute will remember, honor and celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer. Special music will be performed, while luminaries around the College's pond are lit. Each luminary will be decorated with the names of cancer survivors and those lost to cancer.
The American Cancer Society is the leading nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service. The organization also is the largest not-for-profit source of cancer research funds in the United States, investing more than $2.3 billion in an effort to find a cure.
According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 58,700 Ohio residents were diagnosed with cancer in 2002. Due to overwhelming support from events such as Relay for Life, early detection and prevention and research funded by organizations such as the American Cancer Society have increased the five-year survival rate for these patients to 80 percent.
For more information about joining in the Relay for Life celebration, contact the American Cancer Society at 1-888-227-6446 or Owens at 1-800-GO-OWENS, Ext. 7317. Individuals still have the opportunity to register or join a team, or purchase a luminary to honor a loved one that has battled cancer. All proceeds raised from the College's Relay for Life will go toward the American Cancer Society's research, education, advocacy and quality of life programs. Admission to Relay for Life is free and the public is encouraged to be a part of the many activities.
Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Northwest Ohio with 24 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 38,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor 's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.