"Hope" is spelled out during the Relay for Life Luminaria ceremony.

'Magical' event

Relay for Life at UD raises cancer research funds, awareness

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8:28 a.m., April 17, 2014--The American Cancer Society Relay for Life at the University of Delaware, which is scheduled April 26-27 at Newark High School, holds special meaning for UD faculty member Andrea Everard.

“Cancer has touched me in many -- too many – ways,” said Everard, associate professor of accounting and management information systems in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. “Family members, friends, students, colleagues. Some have won the battle and are still with us today. Others fought hard but lost the battle.”

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As a result, Everard said she feels “very strongly about funding the necessary research to better understand different cancers and finding cures for them. I have seen what this disease can do to individuals and to families, and I feel that no matter how hard and physically challenging it may be to train for and complete 13 hours of walking, in the grand scheme of things, it’s really not a whole lot.”

Everard said she got involved with Relay for Life her first year at UD, in 2003, when the college fielded a relay team.

Later, as the faculty adviser for Gamma Sigma Sigma, a student organization with a focus on community service, she made sure to continue to participate to an even greater extent. 

“I have always been a big walker and I enjoy long distance walking. I also racewalk competitively,” she said. “In 2012, the Gamma Sig girls and I decided to try to drum up as much support for Relay for Life as possible. I promised to walk the entire 15-hour event – and, amazingly, at least one Gamma Sig girl walked with me at all times. Colleagues and friends also came down to the Delaware Field House to join me. The support was incredible.”

Everard said that the event not only supports cancer research but provides participants with a special sense of accomplishment.

“Anyone who has participated in Relay will attest to the ‘magical’ feeling of so many people coming together for such a worthy cause,” she said. “I know that to organize such an event takes a great deal of time and effort and I thank the student organizers for all that they do. It is amazing what can be achieved when so many talented and dedicated people work together.”

Everard added, “For me, the Survivor Walk and the Luminaria ceremony are the most memorable and touching events – it really is a time to honor and remember all those who have lost the battle and to recognize those who have survived, and to acknowledge just how lucky we are to be healthy.”

Relay for Life, which will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 26, is a community-based event in which participants come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and raise funds to battle the disease.

Teams camp out overnight and take turns walking or running around a track or path. 

Members of the campus community are invited to register teams at the ACS Relay for Life website.

The UD event chairs are students Alexa Phillips, Melanie Daue, Teddy Tamao and Juliana Sullivan.

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