Excitement heightens for cancer benefit

The fourth annual FAMU Relay for Life is approaching and will open with a kickoff tomorrow at 6 p.m. in Perry Paige Auditorium.

The event, brought to FAMU in 2001 by the Student Government Association Surgeon General Shara Senior, is the first Relay for life at an HBCU and in Tallahassee. Its primary purpose is to raise funds for cancer research.

“Relay is much more than a walk around a track. It is a time to remember those lost to cancer and celebrate those who have survived. It is a night for people who have shared the same experience to comfort and console one another,” according to www.acsevents.org/relay/fl/famu, the FAMU relay for life website.

Irene Aihie, 24, a pharmacy and health information systems management student from Miami, said the event opens up with the survivor lap, in which cancer survivors take a lap around the track.

“There is a special tent for them where they can go and eat, kind-of like a reception,” said Ashli King, co-chair of the event.

From there, each team has to have at least one member on the track at all times.

“They can be running, walking or jogging, but someone has to be on the track,” said Aihie, a senior pharmacy and health information system management student.

At sunset, the luminaria service takes place.

“It is to honor all individuals that have lost their life to cancer or are cancer survivors.

“There are bags around the track in honor of those that have died or survived cancer that people buy with cancer [during luminaria],” said King, of Orlando.

Also during the event there is food, games and entertainment said Ahie.

“We try to keep a lot of entertainment, last year we had sumo-wrestling,” she said.

The event closes with the final lap and the winners are announced said Aihie.

“It is an 18 hour event, and at the end the money goes to cancer,” said King, 20.

The committee hopes for a better outcome this year.

“I hope for an even greater turn out, the largest we’ve ever seen. I expect bigger and better things. I expect us to meet and exceed our goal of 40-40-40, $40,000, 40 teams and 40 survivors,” said Aihie.

The community gets involved through entertainment and there are teams that are community based. The community also provides sponsorship, whether it be monetary or just food and supplies for the event said Aihie.

To find out more information about Relay for life or how to volunteer, come to the kick-off, visit their table every Friday on the set from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., visit and join the facebook group or their website.

Contact Tenicka Morning at famuanlifestyles@hotmail.com