Relay for Life fundraises in Lansing, draws MSU support
But five years later, Kelly is still a member of the team she met her husband on — Lansing Jaycees.
Relay for Life is one of the ACS’s largest fundraisers and this was the first year the Lansing event was held at Cooley Stadium. In previous years, it has been hosted at Lansing Catholic High School.
Kelly said having the Relay at a venue that defines Lansing is like a dream come true.
“When people think of Lansing, they think of the capitol, they think of the Lugnuts (Cooley Law School) Stadium, they think of downtown, and Old Town and all the other things, and I feel like this kind of brings our event to the heart of Lansing,” Kelly said.
During the Relay, a Luminaria Ceremony occurred to honor those affected by cancer, including survivors and caregivers. The event also hosted a celebration lap.
Relay for Life specialist Kristen Adams said the event is for everyone, whether they are a survivor, caregiver or family member of someone who has or had cancer.
Adams said some of the money raised by the Relay goes toward programs such as Road to Recovery, which helps transport cancer patients to and from medical appointments.
Money also goes to the Look Good Feel Better program, which teaches women with cancer how to style wigs, wear scarves and apply makeup.
“We also put so much money into research,” Adams said. “We are the second biggest funder of cancer research outside of the government.”
People form a team and compete by running or walking around the venue to raise money for the ACS.
There is also a “Mr. Relay” Pageant where male members of each team can compete for the title of Mr. Relay.
MSU alumna Jackie Allen said she works on the oncology floor at Sparrow Hospital, so she and a group of her co-workers formed a team.
“It’s just a way to honor the patients that have passed and the ones we’ve taken care of for so long,” Allen said. “Some of our patients are up there for months at a time getting chemo and radiation and we really get attached to them.”
Lansing resident Mark Davis said he became involved with Relay for Life because of Phi Theta Kappa, a National Honor Society for two-year universities. Through the Society, Davis met Anita Reyes, a cancer survivor and a member of the Phi Theta Kappa relay team.
“Seeing it in (Reyes) and having to watch her go through chemo and trying to ... be strong for her, motivate her through it, it does really change a lot of your perspective,” Davis said.