By Chelsea Meulleman

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette held the second annual Relay for Life at the UL Lafayette Track and Field on Saturday, April 4, Relay For Life is a fund-raiser for cancer research, education, and advocacy.  The American Cancer Society funds this event, and it gives everyone an opportunity to remember a loved one or to support someone who is battling cancer. 

At the UL Lafayette Relay for Life, there were more than 200 participants and 20 teams.  Each team participated in the relay, and set up tents along the Track and Field.  The tents sold items and the money raised went to the American Cancer Society.  Each team walked or ran around the track to support those battling cancer or those who lost a life due to cancer. 

"The energy of everybody there has always been a great thing.  It's such a constant energy," said junior Arielle Collado, co-chair of Relay For Life

Collado was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma Cancer at age 5.  She went through radiation and chemotherapy that same year.

"I remember bits and pieces of it.  I remember always wearing a hat, and I was the only student at my private school that was allowed to wear one," said Collado.

Collado is one of few cancer survivors, and this movement is one of the biggest to fight cancer and one day create a cure.  It is amazing to see people join together to support this cause.  The Relay had many supporters who gave donations.  The teams competed in the highest amount donated.  Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity received first place with a donation of $1,265.  Kappa Sigma Fraternity received second place, followed by ULSNA for third place, UL College of Sciences for fourth place, and Kappa Delta Sorority for fifth place.

"My sorority, Kappa Delta, sold T-Shirts at our tent.  We raised over $700.  It was rewarding, and a great experience all together," said Kelly O'Reilly.

At 9 p.m. during the Relay, there was a light ceremony where the American Cancer Society sold white bags for $10 that were used to walk around the track in memory of a loved one who died from cancer, or of a loved one who is battling cancer at the moment.  It was an extraordinary experience to see all of the compassion and support from the participants. 

"It was a great experience.  One of my best friends and sorority sister was on the committee this year, and it was great to be there for her for support.  It was also a great experience being there for my aunt who is currently battling brain cancer," said O'Reilly. 

All of the different organizations that were there were a sight to see.  If you or a loved one is battling cancer, join the Relay for Life team today.  Meetings for next year start in September and this Relay is a great way to support this cause.

To learn more about relays and fundraisers for cancer, go to the Web site at www.relayforlife.org/ull