Ferris CAC prepares for Relay for Life on Friday

RELAY ENTHUSIAST: Ferris State University student Whitney Rivest, president of Ferris’ Colleges Against Cancer chapter, poses with luminaries. Rivest organized this year’s Relay for Life event, which will take place on Friday and Saturday. She has participated in relays for nine years. (Courtesy photo)

BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State University’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer is hosting a Relay for Life event on Friday and Saturday, where students will join the fight against cancer with the energy and enthusiasm characteristic of college students.

“A college relay is a different atmosphere,” said Whitney Rivest, president of Ferris’ CAC group. “It’s bringing awareness to a younger group, which brings a different energy.”

Rivest and other organizers initially set a goal to have 40 teams participate and raise $25,000. As of last week, 48 teams including more than 400 students had registered. More than $12,000 has been raised so far, and all proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society. Last year’s Ferris Relay raised more than $19,000.

Ferris State University Colleges Against Cancer

“The students have been incredible to work with,” said Marie Matuszak, community representative for the American Cancer Society, who is helping with her first collegiate relay at Ferris. “They have so much going on with their classes and tests, and they still find the time and effort to put into this. It says a lot about them that they can support this.”

Ferris’ Relay for Life will pack plenty of entertainment into half the time – 12 hours – of a typical 24-hour Relay for Life event. The event will include relay walking, an opening ceremony, survivor ceremony and dinner, Luminaria ceremony and a closing ceremony. Community members are invited to stop by Wink Arena and observe the relay or join in; the event runs from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. on Saturday.

This year, CAC chose the theme “Movies and TV.” Each hour of the relay will have a different theme, two bands will perform and the rest of the evening will include a variety of activities, such as: a dodgeball tournament at 3 a.m., a cake-decorating contest, a Ms. Relay drag show, a newspaper/duct tape fasion show and jumbo Twister.

“We try to keep it fun and entertaining,” said Rivest, who has been participating in Relay events for nine years. “The Luminaria Ceremony definitely is the tear-jerker moment. It’s the time to remember why we’re doing it.”

The Ferris chapter of CAC has 100 members who volunteer at events throughout the school year, and about 50 members regularly attend meetings.

Ferris teams still can register to participate by visiting www.relayforlife.org/fsumi. Community members, especially cancer survivors, are invited to participate or watch. Survivors can register for the dinner at 5:15 p.m. on Friday, and the ceremony will begin at 6:45 p.m.

For more information, visit the “Colleges Against Cancer – Ferris State” Facebook page.

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