College students race toward Relay goal
MIDDLEBURY-"Cancer affects everyone. I have lost too many friends and family members to the disease, and Relay for Life provides a tangible way to raise money to fight back," said Middlebury Relay for Life co-chairperson Mia Lieb-Lappen, Middlebury College Class of 2010.
Lieb-Lappen's answer to "Why do you Relay?" stems from the Relay slogan "Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back." This year, Lieb-Lappen and fellow co-chair Sarah Bryan '10 invite Middlebury students and community members to do just that on Friday, April 23.
This year's theme is board games, with the slogan, "Don't let cancer pass Go."
Bryan and Lieb-Lappen said that past participants can expect the same fun activities at the event and encouraged those new to Relay to join a team and start fundraising. Staples of past Relays to expect again this year include rows of team campsites, performances by student and community groups, the Luminaria ceremony, guest speakers and, of course, lots of walking laps.
This year, Middlebury College Assistant Professor of Biology Jeremy Ward will deliver a keynote address about cancer research, and Bryan and Lieb-Lappen revealed that attendees can expect to hear from another guest speaker, as well. Bryan also added that a new addition to this year's Relay is a method for counting laps in which walkers will receive one bead for every lap completed to string together as a symbol in representation of the team's total distance walked.
"Cancer never sleeps. So, why should we?" Bryan shared as the tagline the Relay for Life committee uses. Bryan explained that Relay for Life is much more than one night of walking circles around a tent city, and encouraged Relay for Life participants to recognize that because cancer is constantly claiming lives, they should be fundraising continuously. "Cancer is not going to stop because we had an economic crisis," Bryan stated. "I Relay because cancer touches so many lives, and not only the people with the disease - their friends and family, too," Bryan concluded. "Cancer knows no boundaries, but it's a solvable problem. Relay is a chance to raise money that goes toward research to prevent the disease from claiming more lives." "Now, more than ever, people need the help," Lieb-Lappen added.
Last year, Middlebury Relay's 90 teams, made up of 980 participants from the college and community, raised $114,800. This year, they hope to have 1,000 participants and raise $130,000. It is important to note that the college is just $50,000 from the $1 million mark for dollars raised. This year's fundraising is particularly important because it marks a milestone for Middlebury. The Middlebury chapter of Relay was founded seven years ago by Mia's older brother, Ross Lieb-Lappen '07, and Meg Young '07. Lieb-Lappen and Bryan hope to host a party to celebrate this achievement. The main goal for this year's Relay, aside from raising as much money as possible for cancer research, Bryan explained, is to attract more community involvement. "There can be such a disconnect between the college and the community," she said. "This is a great way to work with our neighbors towards a common goal."
Another joint effort between the college and the community to fundraise is called Relay Week and will occur April 2-8. During these five days, various businesses in town will donate a percent of proceeds to Middlebury Relay for Life. Lieb-Lappen reminds students that Relay