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A firsthand explanation: Why do I relay?

February 26, 2016
Patt L. Welsh - Special to the Chronicle , Shepherdstown Chronicle

Because cancer never sleeps, relays turn into overnight events. The Shepherd University Student Engagement group, spearheaded by Rachel Crum, gives participants an opportunity to celebrate, remember and fight back against cancer in addition to honoring university and off campus survivors.

Since 2003, the university has raised over $500,000 to support this cause. Shepherd University will hold their Relay for Life on April 8, kicking off at 4 p.m. with a Torch Run starting on German Street in Shepherdstown near McMurran Hall.

Survivors will hand the torch from one to another at the head of the procession followed by teams displaying their banners, proceed down King Street, across campus ending up with an opening ceremony in front of the Shepherd Wellness Center.

At 6 p.m., survivors will be cheered on by others lining the walk way during the first lap later joined by caregivers and family for the caregivers lap.

During the evening, teams must have one or more members walking at all times until the event concludes at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Come out and see firsthand the enthusiasm displayed from the registered teams made up of Shepherd students, faculty and staff along with outside community teams sitting up individual tables featuring an array of raffles, games, food and other surprises.

Teams can display a banner with a winner announced. Welsh Sound volunteers their time to this cause by providing the stage and lights for music, dancing, announcements and contests.

Long before I became a statistic following breast cancer in 2006, I volunteered wherever needed with the Shepherd Relay for Life.

It was suggested to me and co-worker Elizabeth Hess, also a survivor, to join as co-captains for a team of survivors at Shepherd. Several staff and faculty members heard the call and reached out to become members. Thus, the SU Survivors team was born. Stop by the SU table on April 8 to support the team and say hello.

Friday night April 8, you can purchase a luminaria bag for $10, displaying the names in honor or memory of loved ones. It is a beautiful sight to see the hundreds of flickering bags illuminating the darkness.

Come out and support the students, staff and faculty at Shepherd giving their all to promote this cause and someday we will hear there will be an end to this devastating disease affecting families all over the world.

I would like to share a poem I wrote printed on bookmarks for the Jefferson County Relay for Life:


The color


Relay for Life

Purple Balloons

Purple Shirts

Purple Banners

to name a few

Purple represents



Nurturing, Love


Unique and Special

The reason

You walk

Arm in Arm

a Lap or two

Makes a statement

Sending a Message

To Survivors.



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