​Rotaract Club Relay for Life

by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
The American Cancer Society estimates that roughly one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer. About four years ago, Will Murphy’s sister was that one. She was only 28 at the time. She went through treatment and is now healthy again, but Murphy described it as an eye-opening experience.
Murphy, who is involved with the Monteagle-Sewanee Rotaract Club, is part of the student-led team at the University that has planned Sewanee’s first Relay for Life for Oct. 6. A fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, the Relay for Life is an event honoring those who have passed from or are battling cancer, cancer survivors and their caregivers.
“The experience with my sister really brought fighting against cancer to the forefront of my philanthropic activities… and when we voted last December on our largest service project for this year, we realized that most people in the club had been affected by cancer. We knew we wanted to do something big to bring the university and the community as a whole together to fight back against cancer, so since January, we’ve been mobilizing and meeting in committees and putting things together,” he said.
Money raised from the Relay for Life will go directly toward cancer research. To date, the relay has raised over $5 billion to support the work of the American Cancer Society. And for Murphy, after almost a year of planning, he is excited to see the event come to fruition.
“We’ve raised almost $14,000 so far in pledges, and we have an additional $600 through the University. We’ve sold T-shirts to make more money, and we have around $1,200 from that. Our final goal is $20,000,” Murphy said. “During the event, people will be selling food and doing raffles as well, so we’re very confident that we’re going to reach our goal and be able to donate $20,000 to a really good cause.”
Bill Davis, who has been involved with the Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary for the last 10 years, has been overseeing the Rotaract’s planning of the Relay for Life. With 36 teams and almost 150 registered participants, he said they expect more than 500 people to attend the event.
“The walk itself is an opportunity for people to come out and be a part of recognizing the survivors and the caregivers, and the Luminaria event following will be an opportunity to remember those that have been lost to cancer,” he said. “One of these days, we’re going to find a way to cure cancer, and right now, the more money we throw at it, the more likely we’ll find opportunities to care for people going through it now and in the future.”
The event will be on Oct. 6, beginning at 4 p.m. at the Hardee McGee track and field at The University of the South. For more information about the event or to donate, visit relayforlife.org/sewaneetn.