Rockhurst Relay Recognizes the Toll Taken by CancerApril 24, 2015

Approximately 400 participants ready to take the field in the annual Rockhurst University-University of Missouri-Kansas City Relay for Life on Saturday, April 25, on Rockhurst’s Bourke Field have a lot to celebrate this year.
The event has already surpassed its goal of raising $60,000 for the American Cancer Society — as of Friday, the event had raised approximately $65,000.
But as they recognize cancer their accomplishment, and take part in activities like a red-eye karaoke session, food trucks, photobooths and volleyball to keep themselves awake during the all-night relay, they’ll also have a lot to remember.
“There’s family members, parents, friends — everyone is affected by cancer somehow,” said Katie Survillo, the Rockhurst junior who co-chairs this year’s relay.
The Rockhurst community will pay special tribute during Saturday’s event to Cody Schuler, a 2014 Rockhurst University graduate who died in November 2014 after a battle with cancer. Schuler had been a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and an active participant in past relays, Survillo said.
“When Cody passed away, I know that it affected not only the relay community about the Rockhurst University community,” she said. “He had spoken at the relay in the past and he meant a lot to a lot of people on campus.”
During the luminaria ceremony at 10 p.m., members of Pi Kappa Alpha will make their way to the field to light Schuler’s luminaria for a solemn remembrance of his loss.
Meredith Koch, the Rockhurst senior who co-chairs the event with Survillo, said the relay committee has worked to make this year’s event special in every aspect, from the commemoration of those lost to the entertainment.
“We’re really excited to be outside on Bourke Field for the first time,” Koch said. “We think that will make the event a lot more unified and give it a different atmosphere and more opportunities. So we’ve really tried to revamp the relay in a lot of different ways.”
Invoking the final piece of the relay’s motto to “celebrate, remember and fight back,” the relay’s new “fight back ceremony” will provide an opportunity to reach out to those battling cancer with resources. For the 345 participants, most of whom have experienced the effects of cancer either firsthand or through the experience of a loved one, that pledge to fight back is also built in the event itself.
“Cancer never sleeps,” Survillo said. “That’s why we do this all night.”

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