First ‘Relay’ at FAMU raises nearly $20,000

Cancer is prevalent in the black community, and has encouraged individuals like Jennifer Jones to become involved with this year’s Relay For Life fundraiser.

“This definitely hits home for me,” said the 20-year-old chemistry premed student. “My dad died of leukemia, so I got a little emotional, especially when the survivors walked,” said the junior from Dallas.

The SGA sponsored event began with cancer survivors taking the first lap, showing their support for the American Cancer Society. It was also a victory for them to show that they overcame a battle that would have jeopardized their lives if they hadn’t sought treatment.

“The problem is that black people don’t want to talk about it. It’s a taboo in our society,” said LaTasha Lee, chair of survivorship . “I’m glad that the survivors came out today. It shows that black people do survive from this, but only if they go and get treatment,” said the biology premed student from Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Thirty-eight teams participated, consisting of academic, greek and other student organizations. Although the turnout for the first two hours was successful, some people believe that the Tallahassee community should have gotten involved as well.

“I wish the black churches could have gotten involved,” said Cynthia Stokes Williams, a two-year cancer survivor and honorary chair of Relay For Life.

“If black people do anything else, they go to church. By telling their congregation about the event, more individuals could have gotten involved besides the students.”

Despite a thunderstorm that began around 5:00 a.m., SGA raised a total of $18, 322 out of an original goal of $35, 000. The top student teams were the “Gold Member Phamily Black Team,” ranking in first place, the Beta Alpha Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. in second place, and the Beta Alpha Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. ranking in third place. The University President’s office ranked as the top faculty team for the event.

Patricia Gallon, a faculty member and two-year breast cancer survivor, said that the event was a success for its first year.

“SGA deserves a job well done. I hope that they keep up the good work.”

Aricka M. Foreman can be reached at