The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Relay For Life strengthens hope

Six years ago, the word cancer took on a new meaning for Kathleen O’Rourke, a professor of family and consumer sciences.

O’Rourke said she has participated in seven Relay For Life events and she plans on delivering an encouraging message this weekend to keep fighting against cancer.

“It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life,” O’Rourke said. “Despite the major challenges of facing cancer, I gained a deeper appreciation for my life and my family and my friends, who were with me every step of the way.”

Colleges Against Cancer is hosting Relay For Life from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.

Throughout the past seven Relay For Life events, O’Rourke has raised almost $20,000 for the American Cancer Society.

“Fundraising for Relay For Life allows the American Cancer Society to provide more educational and support programs for those facing cancer,” she said.

O’Rourke said she will deliver a message of hope and cancer awareness at Friday’s Relay For Life at Eastern.

“The message will include celebrating those who are fighting and winning their battles against cancers,” O’Rourke said. “It (will also) include the importance of raising awareness about cancer.”

O’Rourke said she became involved in Relay For Life to help give back to her community, cancer survivors and their loved ones.

“Cancer forces you to realize the fragility of our lives and I am very thankful to live a cancer-free life,” O’Rourke said. “I had tremendous support network while facing cancer and every individual deserves the same.”

O’Rourke said she is inspired by the Eastern students who get involved to help fight against cancer by participating in Relay For Life.

“I am tremendously proud of the students involved in Colleges Against Cancer and those who join Relay For Life teams,” O’Rourke said.

Amanda Woolard, a sexual health education coordinator, said each year Eastern plans a Relay For Life to get the students on campus involved and raise money for a worthy cause.

“The survivors are the most impactful part of Relay,” Woolard said. “It is motivating to raise as much money as possible to make a difference in so many lives.”

Woolard and the Health Education Resource Center are coordinating the Relay For Life event that will be on the Panther Trail.

Colleges Against Cancer has been involved in the planning of Relay For Life throughout the year, of which O’Rourke is a faculty adviser.

This year, there are 43 teams, with campus-supported teams from Pemberton and Taylor halls. Other teams consist of registered student organizations and Greek chapters.

Colleen O’Sullivan, the Colleges Against Cancer president, is one of the coordinators for this year’s Relay For Life event.

“It’s a great way to meet people, hang out with friends and do something different on a Friday night at EIU,” O’Sullivan said. “There’s fun activities throughout the night, prizes and silent/live auction baskets.”

O’Rourke said she is looking forward to the Survivor Lap at the Relay For Life event and the powerful experience it gives cancer survivors.

“I am reminded of the courage of cancer survivors and the bond that is shared among cancer survivors,” O’Rourke said. “As we walk the lap, I look at the faces of those cheering for us on the sidelines and I feel a great sense of appreciation for their support.”

Jennifer Brown can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction April 13, 2011:

Colleges Against Cancer is the host for the event.

The DEN regrets the error.

Relay For Life strengthens hope

Relay For Life strengthens hope

Dianna Nelson of Laurence, Kan. walks the survivors lap of the Relay For Life event April 18, 2010. Nelson is an 8 year survivor of breast cancer. (File Photo


Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

Commenting on the Daily Eastern News web site is a privilege, not a right. We reserve the right to remove comments that contain obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language. Also, comments containing personal attacks or threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
All The Daily Eastern News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest