Relay For Life: Join Virginia Tech in their fight against cancer

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I am proud to share a very important guest post from Emily McCloud, Senior at Virginia Tech and Director of this year’s Relay for Life. The event supports the American Cancer Society, and for the past SIX years it has been the largest Collegiate Relay For Life event in the world. It is inspiring to see the younger generation invest their time and energy in a cause that they believe in, and I am proud of the Hokie community for their involvement. I am even more proud of Emily for her philanthropy and leadership. She has served on the Executive Committee for three of the four years she has participated in the Relay, including this past year as Director. I am also blessed to be able to call this “Not Boring” young lady my cousin. (Well, technically she is my stepmother’s niece, but ain’t nobody got time for all that “step” mess. So we just say “Cousin Emily”, because family is family.) Keep reading to find out more about Relay, as well as Emily’s story and how a devastating personal loss compelled her to be involved with such a worthy cause.

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A message from Emily:

Relay For Life is not a race. Even though there is a track at Relay For Life, you are not required to race, run, or even walk on the track.

But, Relay is a race in another way: a race to find a cure for cancer.

My name is Emily McCloud and I’m the Director of Virginia Tech’s Relay For Life. As Hokies, we are proud of everything we do, but especially our Relay. We have had the largest Collegiate Relay For Life event in the world for 6 years, raising over $500,000 and recruiting over 5,000 student participants each of those years. Even better, we’ve raised over $4.5 million for cancer research since we started at Tech in 2000-2001. To date, we’ve raised over $166,000 this year, which has funded nearly 2 research grants or 1,660 nights for cancer patients and loved ones to stay in a Hope Lodge for free while the patient undergoes treatment.

We’ve done so much, but there still isn’t a cure.

I’m passionate about Relay because 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Unfortunately, I’ve known too many people who represent these numbers. This disease takes too many lives and shakes families and friends forever. This terrible disease shook my own family by taking my father from us when I was just 12 years old. Just before my father passed, breast cancer took my Aunt. Then just about three years ago cancer took my Grandfather as well. Cancer has changed my life and upset my loved ones for as long as I can remember.

However, I am determined to make it stop.

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My Story:

Being a Daddy’s girl, it was life altering losing him. Not only did it affect how my family functioned, but I didn’t feel like his little girl anymore. He wasn’t going to see my Sweet Sixteen, he would never get to go nuts about me dating, he wouldn’t be seeing me graduate high school or go off to college, and he wouldn’t be there to walk me down the aisle one day. Though time has helped, there isn’t a day that passes that I don’t think of him, my Aunt, or Grandfather. I think about all of the things I wanted them to experience with me and I think about the opportunities they missed in their lives. It’s not fair that their story ended early, and that’s why I’m fighting back with Relay For Life. Relay For Life gives me an outlet to put my passion and efforts towards and I know that every little thing I do for the cause is helping someone out there. Maybe its even helping a little girl get more time with her Dad. I know we can end this fight and at Relay For Life on April 24th, I will feel the energy and spirit of over 5,000 others who agree that cancer will lose. We’ll be awake for 12 hours on April 24th, celebrating survivors and remembering loved ones by walking the track at Relay. We’ll be fighting back by dancing along to bands and DJs. But most importantly, we’ll be fundraising every penny we can to finish the fight against cancer.

I Relay in loving memory of those that I have lost to cancer. I Relay so that no children have to grow up without a parent. I Relay so that friendships can last forever. I Relay now and I will keep Relaying until we can change the statistics to 0 out of 2 men and 0 out of 3 women.

We’re not just fighting cancer, we’re ending it.

Want to donate and help our fight? Click here to help me find a cure!

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