The woman behind the relay

Kyra Freeney. Photo courtesy: @famurelayforlife Instagram page

In the United States, there are over a million new cancer cases and half a million deaths due to cancer per year. Cancer is also the country’s second leading cause of death after heart disease.

Kyra Freeney, a third-year environmental sciences student at Florida A&M University, has been working diligently for the past three years to lower those statistics by coordinating FAMU’S annual Relay for Life.

Freeney was born on Dec. 21, 2000, in Jacksonville. Freeney began her journey as Relay for Life chairwoman her sophomore year of college but sat on the committee her freshman year. She is moved by the work of the American Cancer Society because of her family’s experience with cancer. She said that it was necessary to spread awareness on campus.

“I have a family member that was touched by cancer,” Freeney said. “Some are survivors, and some lost their battle; it’s essential to educate our community about staying informed on what you can do to best support others and stay healthy yourself.”

Coordinating an event of this magnitude was a challenging yet rewarding journey for Freeney.

“Coordinating Relay for Life is very long, especially because Relay for Life isn’t an organization,” Freeney said. “The committee must work closely with SGA to ensure the event runs smoothly. The committee is chosen in the summer; applicants are contacted the first week of school. After the first meeting, the fundraising goal and Relay for Life theme are solidified. From there is planning and working with the fundraised teams through FAMU’s Relay for Life.”

Freeney’s Greek chair for Relay for Life, Staci Gamble, can attest to the great satisfaction of working on the committee.

“My experience in Relay for Life has been gratifying. This was the first organization I joined, and I was a part of Relay for life in high school. I wanted to be a part of Relay for Life because I have a family member who has cancer, and when I found out, I felt helpless. Being in Relay these past few years has made me feel like I’m making a change on campus,” Gamble said.

Freeney is also a member of the Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Her prophyte Shara Senior helped bring back Relay for Life to FAMU’S campus. Freeney is proud to continue the legacy.

Freeney is passionate about STEM and feels that being a part of Relay for Life will help her achieve her goals in the future.

“Relay for Life aligns with my future goals because I am an aspiring OBGYN; as chairwoman, I must be analytical and passionate about healthcare.,” she added. “These skill sets are necessary to work in STEM.”

FAMU’s Relay for Life was held Friday on the university’s track. One of the attenders, Savannah Clemmons, had nothing but good words about the event.

“I thought the event was very well put together, and I enjoyed my time here,” Clemmons said.

Freeney was proud of the work she produced and was excited to present the relay winners.

“My favorite part of the relay is seeing everything come into fruition, congratulate the teams for their diligent work as they fundraised throughout the school year, and begin around the student body on the actual day of the relay,” Freeney said.

After graduation, Freeney plans on attending medical school and working toward her goal of becoming an OBGYN.