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Relay raises money, awareness

April 17, 2014

 

FREDEDREIA WILLIS
Staff Reporter

 

Luminaries placed around the track honored those who have survived cancer, those who are battling cancer and have lost their lives to cancer. –Photo by Devin Dronett

Luminaries placed around the track honored those who have survived cancer, those who are battling cancer and have lost their lives to cancer. –Photo by Devin Dronett

Lincoln Parish’s Relay for Life drew almost 300 participants to walk and help raise money to fund cancer research through the American Cancer Society.

 

Before the event started, Brittany Copponex, a senior mechanical engineering major and event chairperson for Lincoln Parish, said she was very pleased with the turnout of the crowd.

 

“Seeing Relay for Life being able to bring the whole community out for the mere cause of trying to eliminate cancer was very heartwarming,” Copponex said. “It basically sucked me in, and I love how it brings people together to raise money.”

 

Relay for Life is an overnight event where survivors, supporters and current fighters take turns walking, around the track from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. When attendees are not running or walking they can enjoy different booths with food and games to raise money for the ACS.

 

Though the theme changes each year, this year was superhero themed.

 

Colton Boothe, a Ruston High School senior, served as the first speaker of the evening. Boothe was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia at 8 years old. He and his family have been major supporters of the Lincoln Parish Relay for Life since that time, raising more than $9,000 to help with awareness and fight against cancer.

 

Boothe said he remembers sitting in his hospital room, and the doctor telling him he had cancer.

 

“I didn’t know what cancer was; I just knew that it wasn’t good,” he said. “As soon as I heard those words, I broke down crying.”

 

Boothe’s speech was followed by the start of the survivor walk.

 

“Relay for Life truly lets you know that you’re not the only one in that boat,” Claudy Aker, survivor of lymphoma cancer, said. “I would tell any young person that is being affected by cancer not to chicken out and how Relay for Life has given me hope.”

 

Cancer survivors stand together at the Relay for Life. –Photo by Devin Dronett

Cancer survivors stand together at the Relay for Life. –Photo by Devin Dronett

Jessica Boagni, a member of Delta Sigma Pi, helped the sorority participate in the event and said it was her first time ever doing Relay for Life. Boagni explained that she had a lot of fun and thinks that she will participate every year now.

 

“I liked being with a group of people I enjoyed and walking for such a wonderful cause,” she said. “Even though I don’t have cancer, I felt like my participation gave someone who does lots of faith.”

 

The luminaria ceremony began with small white paper bags with candles inside that traced the outline of the track. The candles were lit in honor of survivors, fighters and those who have lost their lives to cancer.

 

“We’re going to eliminate cancer one day,” Copponex said, “I am going to be an active member of Relay for Life for the rest of my life.”

 

Email comments to flw005@latech.edu.

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