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Walk, jog, Pie your Prof at Mercyhurst’s Relay for Life

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Mercyhurst students have already raised almost $11,000 for the American Cancer Society, but they hope to double that total during Saturday’s 5th Annual Relay for Life on campus.

More than 40 teams and 200 students have signed up to take part in the event on Saturday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in Garvey Park.

Event chair Kelsey Eckhoff says this year's theme is board games, and scheduled activities include a Velcro wall, donut on a string competition, a giant game of Twister, balloon artists, face painters, live DJs, performances by the Mercyhurst Dance Team and Hurst Idol winners, and more.

The number of relay participants climbs every year, Eckhoff said, because cancer has touched everyone’s life in some way. “At least one person in everyone’s circle of family and friends has been affected by the disease,” she noted.

For Eckhoff, that person was her best friend back in kindergarten, who was diagnosed with leukemia. As young as she was, she was moved by what her friend and his family faced. Later, she looked for ways to help and began working at age 13 at a camp for kids with life-threatening diseases.

She was a Relay team captain her freshman year at Mercyhurst and has been on the planning committee ever since. Now taking the lead role as a senior, she’s already training two committee members – Jocelyn Yahner and Danielle Dros – to run the event next year.

While most of those relaying will be students, the committee also encourages Mercyhurst employees to help out. There’s a special faculty/staff lap at 4 p.m., followed by a “Pie Your Professor” opportunity to raise more money for the cause. Participants so far include faculty members Bill Welch, Allen Quinn, Rich McCarty, Matt Weaver, Rob Hoff and Susan Johnson, athletic director Joe Kimball and football coach Marty Schaetzle.

At 6 p.m., cancer survivors will be honored during a special lap, with a dinner for them to follow.

Finally, as darkness falls, luminaria will line the relay track, each purchased in memory of a loved one lost to cancer or in honor of someone who has fought the disease.

To sign up to take part in the Relay at Mercyhurst or to make a donation, visit the event website at relayforlife.org/pamercyhurst. http://relayforlife.org/pamercyhurst For more information, contact chair Kelsey Eckhoff at keckho68@lakers.mercyhurst.edu.