Fighting cancer full circle

UK students have a little less than three months to help Relay for Life fight against cancer. 

The events series of ceremonies sets it apart from other charity events by using the relay to bring students, cancer patients and cancer survivors together. 

UK will host Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser on April 9. This year’s 6-hour relay will be in the Seaton Center gymnasium and will run from 6 p.m. to midnight. 

According to Alex Carson, Relay for Life’s senior manager, the fundraiser provides the American Cancer Society with the means to offer services and educational awareness to those with cancer, cancer survivors and their caretakers.

“When I was in high school my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer,” said Sarah Hicks, a human health sciences senior. “She went through surgery, as well as chemotherapy, and has been cancer-free since. When I cheered my mom on as she walked her first Survivors Lap at Relay for Life, I knew that I wanted to continue to be involved throughout college and beyond.”

Students interested in relaying can go to and create a team, join a pre-existing one, or sign up to walk individually. Those participating can raise funds by sending emails through the relay site, or finding creative ways to reach their goals. 

This year Relay for Life’s leadership team expects a total of 400 participants including 30 teams, a net income of $22,000 and scholarship pledges that total up to $4,000.

Through Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society also supports the Hope Lodge, which provides housing, transportation, food and other resources to eligible cancer patients who travel to Lexington to receive treatment.

Cancer survivors take the first lap of the relay, which symbolizes the victory of battling and defeating cancer. Other participants stand alongside the track cheering them on.

The second lap is the Caregivers Lap. Participants honor anyone who helps another in their fight against cancer. 

During Relay for Life’s candlelit Luminaria Ceremony, participants remember loved ones who died from cancer while supporting those who currently have cancer and honoring those who have been diagnosed. This is an opportunity for participants to fight grief and to find hope in one another. 

“I think it’s so easy to think about how the disease is affecting you personally, but in a setting like this it makes it so much broader and you realize how much everyone else is going through the same thing,” said Layne Krupilski, UK Relay for Life chapter president and a marketing and merchandising, apparel and textiles senior. “It gives you that opportunity to connect with and really support people.”

During the closing ceremony, participants and volunteers celebrate life and pledge to keep fighting cancer throughout the upcoming year. 

Student admission is $10 at the door or online, and sign up is available through Relay for Life’s website Anyone who raises more than $100 will receive an event t-shirt, a bracelet and free food throughout the event.