Rockhurst, UMKC Students Partner for Relay for LifeApril 21, 2014

This week, students from Rockhurst University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City will team up once again for an all-night effort to celebrate, remember and fight back.

Organized in conjunction with the American Cancer Society and Colleges Against Cancer, the annual Rockhurst-UMKC Relay for Life, this year called “Purple Prom,” is scheduled from 6 p.m. Friday, April 25, to 6 a.m. Saturday, April 26, in the Convocation Center on the Rockhurst campus. Hundreds of participants and more than 30 teams are expected to take part in the 12-hour event that kicks off with a survivors’ lap and will feature food, dancing and games. The proceeds from the relay at Rockhurst will benefit the American Cancer Society’s research to find an end to cancer.

Behind the effort is the recognition that cancer now affects nearly everyone in some way. For some, the impact of cancer comes through their own diagnosis; for others, it’s through the diagnosis of a loved one.

For Rockhurst University junior Gina Garbo, it’s both. She recently marked a decade since losing her grandmother to pancreatic cancer, and it’s been eight years since she herself was declared cancer-free after undergoing chemotherapy to treat a benign brain tumor she was diagnosed with in the seventh grade. Friends and family, she said, played a big part in getting her through her treatment.

“The amount of love and support that surrounds you during a time like that is crucial, and to be able to create that environment during the relay is great,” she said.

Having been involved with Relay for Life activities both in her hometown and at Rockhurst since her freshman year, Garbo said she keeps all of the ways that her life has been affected by cancer in mind.

“I relay very much for my grandmother,” she said, as well as herself. “I just don’t want anybody to have to go through losing somebody.”

For every person participating in the relay, there are different stories and experiences. But Garbo said everyone, from students to community members, and their experiences come together each year at the relay for a common goal.

“To go in that room and realize that everyone is there to support a common cause is awesome,” she said. “We’re all there for the same reason, and you feel a sense of community because everyone has been affected by the same disease.”

For more information on the Rockhurst-UMKC Relay for Life event, visit relayforlife.org/umkcmo.

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