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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Walk mirrors cancer battle

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By Frida Salazar / New Mexico Daily Lobo

New Mexico basketball player Brea Mitchell gives Ashlee Smalley a ride for a lap during the UNM Relay for Life on Johnson Field Friday
afternoon. The overnight event, of which Smalley was the logistics director, was held to support the fight against cancer, with participants circling the track for twelve hours.

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Students marched around Johnson field all night Friday to raise money for cancer research.

Relay for Life is an overnight event meant to emphasize that cancer never sleeps. Participants circled the field for twelve hours to simulate the exhausting process of enduring cancer’s ‘road to recovery.’

Meghan Maes, a senior in psychology and event chair for the relay, said the event commemorates the many lives lost to the struggle against cancer.

“The number-one way we can fight back against cancer is by getting grants to continue research,” Maes said.

This year is Meghan’s second for being in charge of the student chapter of the American Cancer Society. Last year the organization raised $20,000 dollars, doubling the amount raised in 2012. This year, she said, their goal is to reach $25,000.

“Cancer is relentless, and the only way we can beat it is by giving it more than it can take,” she said.

Mariah Galvez, a senior in the nursing program, said she has been involved with the event for three years. A cancer survivor herself, Galvez said she walks for the people in her life that have also been affected by the disease.

“Fighting cancer is the reason I am going into nursing,” she said. “Just the hope of ending cancer is worth fighting for.”

Galvez said the program signed more than 20 local sponsors and nearly 300 participants.

Alexa Chavez, a member of the women’s basketball team, said she participated to support those who are fighting against cancer.

Chavez said she and a number of players on the women’s basketball team offered piggyback laps in exchange for donations, with all proceeds benefitting the fundraiser.

“It’s for a really good cause. A lot of us have family members, even parents, who have suffered from cancer,” she said. “Just being out here and being able to support the people from Albuquerque is such a great feeling.”

Deanna Salazar also participated in the relay along with members of Phi Eta Sigma.

“I am so glad to be a part of Phi Eta Sigma supporting Relay For Life,” she said. ”It’s a great way to bring awareness to the UNM campus.”