Cancer walk raises funds, awareness

Florida A&M University’s Student Government Association held their fourth annual Relay for Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society at the Robert “Pete” Griffin Track on FAMU’s campus.

Relay for Life was an 18-hour fundraiser walk that began Friday at 3 p.m. and ended on Saturday at 9 a.m. Campus teams had to have a least one member on the track from start to finish.

At FAMU’s event last year, approximately $30,000 was raised. This year, Relay for Life surpassed its goal of raising $40,000, as well as having more than 40 cancer survivors attend the event, and having 53 organizations come out to show support, participate in activities and volunteer their time. Making this year Relay for Life the most successful one FAMU has had.

“I really was excited, and I think the event went over very well. We raised a lot of money for cancer research and awareness, and we still have a lot of money coming in so I know we’re going to reach our goal,” said Irene Aihie, a senior health information student from Miami and chair of the event.

Aihie, 24, said that as of midnight Saturday, $38,500 had been raised, with many organizations still turning in money.

The final tally of collected money may not be available until the middle of April.

“We definitely set the standard this year by raising $13,000 more this year than last year,” Aihie said.

“We had campus clubs and organizations come together for one purpose and that was to raise money for cancer research and to walk,” Aihie said.

Relay for Life is a fundraiser for cancer research and a tribute to cancer survivors, patients and the lives lost to the disease.

The ACS was established in 1913 and has been holding the Relay for Life in communities across the United States since 1985.

The organization contributes resources to improve cancer research for prevention, detection and treatments.

Many volunteers were there to donate their time and lend a hand when needed.

“I’m here walking the track and just giving what I can,” said Anwar Williams, a Care to Give volunteer.

At the event, relay teams competed to see which team could raise the most money, and at the end of the event, each relay team’s donations were tallied.

During FAMU’s Relay for Life, cancer survivors were honored during the “Survivors’ Lap,” and those who were lost to cancer were remembered during the “Luminary Ceremony.”

Cancer survivors participated in the opening ceremony and walked alongside fellow survivors in a victory lap at the end.

There were games and activities for kids as well as adults. A DJ played music between performances and all night.

There were live performances by dance troupes and singers.

“I was honored to be a part of something like this,” said singer Antoinette Abington.

Participants signed a huge banner called the “Wall of Hope,” which will be a part of “Celebration on the Hill” in Washington D.C.

“In all 4400 Relay for Life fundraisers nationwide, each have there own “Wall of Hope” banner,” said Corrine Rubin, Tallahassee’s ACS community representative.

“During ‘Celebration on the Hill,’ all of the banners and some cancer survivors will be taken to Washington, D.C. where they will go and talk to our legislators about laws that would aid with cancer prevention,” she said.

“The support from the student body has grown over the years, and I believe this has become a part of the FAMU experience,” said graduate student, Shara Senior.

Donations can still be made on the ACS Web site.

For cancer information and to find out about cancer resources in your community, call the ACS’s 24-hour toll-free number, 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit

Sidney Wright IV contributed to this report.

Contact Stefan Weekes at