Cancer Never Sleeps

Students walk together during Relay For Life in Beeghly Center to raise money for cancer research.
Students walk together during Relay For Life in Beeghly Center to raise money for cancer research.

Members of the Youngstown and Youngstown State University communities gathered Friday and Saturday to march through the halls of Beeghly Center to kick off the 12th annual Relay For Life.

Held from 6 p.m. on Friday through noon on Saturday, the relay consisted of 27 different teams that were raising money for the cure for cancer. The American Cancer Society sponsored the event.

Cheri Metzinger, event chairwoman for the American Cancer Society, said the theme for this year’s relay was ‘50s style.

“Starting at 7 [p.m.], we are starting with the ‘50s decade, and we’re doing really cool ‘50s games like hula hooping and bubblegum blowing. We have a lot of really fun games and contests going on, and all of it is just to raise awareness and raise money for the American Cancer Society and help to fight for a cure,” Metzinger said.

Many of the teams at the relay — like the YSU Scholars and Honors and the YSU Engineering program — were excited to be able to participate and fund-raise for the American Cancer Society.

Brian Betts, a mechanical engineering major and member of the YSU Scholars and Honors team, said he and his team were happy to give their time in the event.

“I’m really glad that Scholars and Honors were able to participate in this relay, and I’m just glad that we were able to make a difference,” he said.

Jennifer Miller, the team captain for the group from the College of Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, said her group was excited to get the event.

“This is our second year doing this, so it’s a lot of fun just seeing more people jump on board and participate in the fundraising, and we’re excited to have a fun night,” said Miller.

Many of the teams at the relay were not first timers, and returned to support their family members. Margaret Gratz-Reynolds, graduate assistant at YSU, said she felt especially motivated to attend the Relay For Life because of her mother-in-law.

“This isn’t my first year at relay. I’m excited to be able to be here again. My mother-in-law is with me, and we just found out last Saturday, less than ten days ago that she is cancer free. She’s one of the special gifts for this Relay For Life for me, but I relay for my grandmother, great uncle, my great aunt and all the other people in my family that have passed away. Now we have a survivor in the family,” Reynolds said. “I always give 110 percent, but this year I feel like I’m giving 300 percent because I have a survivor on my team.”

Mary Jo Marsh, a teacher at St. Charles, said her students eagerly voted to return to the relay.

“We’ve been coming here for 12 years from St. Charles School, and the seventh and eighth graders are on our team, and they voted to come back again,” Marsh said. “They always enjoy it and have a good time, and we usually collect a lot of money. The relay for life likes us to be here because they can count on us for the money.”