UCA Relay for Life exceeds goal for American Cancer Society

Photos by Lisa Hutchison

More than 400 participants experienced a day fueled by remembrance and celebration April 14 as they took part in the annual University of Central Arkansas Relay for Life at UCA’s Estes Stadium. The student-led organization raised more than $21,000 to support the American Cancer Society.

“We plan and host this community-wide event where individuals from the Central Arkansas area come together to celebrate cancer survivors and caregivers, remember loved ones lost to cancer and fight back against the disease through raising funds for the American Cancer Society,” said Rebecca Thomas, vice president of communication and outreach. “Funds raised through our event directly support the American Cancer Society’s efforts, which include funding cancer research, patient and family support, travel and housing aid and advocacy endeavors.

“On behalf of the Relay for Life Executive Board and Planning Committee, I extend sincere thanks to every individual who donated to our cause and to every individual from UCA’s campus and the Conway community who attended the event,” Thomas said. “We are so grateful to have had such a successful event this year, and it would not have been possible without them.”

The event featured activities for all ages, including a 5K run/walk, live music, food trucks, games, shopping with local businesses and ceremonies to honor cancer survivors, caregivers, current patients and loved ones lost to the disease and more.

Theme for the daylong event was Camp for a Cure. Thomas said with this theme, the event aimed “to embody the aura of a summer camp” as event attendees visited Camp Relay. Games, T-shirts and decorations focused on bringing the theme to life.

Thomas said one important aspect of the event is purchasing and placing luminarias, which are paper lanterns, that honor all lives touched by cancer.

“Luminarias can be dedicated to loved ones lost to cancer, current battlers of cancer or individuals who have overcome cancer,” she said. “As the event journeys into the night, the luminarias are lit and displayed to honor and remember loved ones. Dozens of luminarias lined the field at Estes Stadium and ignited the evening on April 14.”