U of O Relay For Life: 'To have fun and fight back against cancer'

U of O Relay For Life: 'To have fun and fight back against cancer'
Participants jog around the field at Relay For Life event hosted by the University of Oregon on May 17, 2014. Macy Crowe, Oregon News Lab

EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon hosted its seventh annual Relay For Life event on Saturday at the university’s turf fields. The event is a 15 hour relay, in which teams must walk around the track at all times.

Relay For Life raises money for all types of cancer and is the second largest fund raiser for cancer research behind the United States government, according to a Relay For Life committee member.

“People come together to have fun and fight back against cancer,” said Caitlin Gibson, co-event chair.

The event is hosted annually in order to fight back and raise awareness of cancer research. Their motto is “We don’t want anyone to hear the words ‘You have cancer’”.

“I’ve been relaying since my mentor passed away and three months ago my uncle passed away from lung cancer,” says Gibson, co-event chair. “It drives me, it’s awesome to see survivors and supporters come together and participate in the fight against cancer.”

In addition to the relay, the event also provides food and entertainment, such as dance performances and free fitness activities. At the event there is a Luminaria ceremony, during which participants remember loved ones lost to cancer and honor those still fighting cancer.

“Being here to show my support in a visual way is very empowering—I feel like I’m making a difference,” says Michaela Bailey, Relay For Life participant.