By Emily Stephenson
Friday, August 3, participants, volunteers and cancers survivors will celebrate the fight against cancer and raise funds at Relay for Life’s overnight event on UVU’s track.
The event will starts at 6 p.m. and features two special events, honoring cancer survivors in the survivors lap, and the luminary ceremony which will light the way along the track to remember those who have lost to cancer, those currently fighting for cancer and those who have overcome cancer.
“This will be my first event. The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is the luminary ceremony,” said Brooklyn Bowcut, event coordinator and student. “It’s where they have everyone decorate a bag and they put a candle in it. I’m really excited for that because my family will be there and we’ll have a bag made up for my grandma. I’m sure I’ll be crying.”
She explained that her grandmother had ovarian cancer and lost her life to stomach cancer seven years ago. Bowcut mentioned she herself has pre-skin cancer and her mother has pre-colon cancer polyps.
According to the American Cancer Society, half of men and one-third of women in the U.S. will develop cancer in their lifetime. Bowcut said this statistic is a serious matter.
“I think everyone should be concerned with those odds,” said Bowcut. “Someone you know really close to you will get cancer. We’ve got to get rid of it.”
Lindsay Gomm, 22, student and aspiring nurse agrees with Bowcut. Gomm was in fifth grade when her mother was diagnosed with large cell, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer.
“You go through something like that, especially at a young age, and you wonder, ‘is my mom going to be there when I go on my first date, when I graduate high school, when I get married?’” Gomm said, teary-eyed. “We didn’t understand exactly what was happening, or why it was happening.”
Gomm explained that her families laughter and continued support helped her mother battle cancer.
“My mom had to go through chemotherapy. She lost all her hair, that was hard,” said Gomm. “My mom had really long, pretty dark hair and she chopped it really short so it was easier when it would fall out. Just seeing her like that, and then seeing her bald was a really big shock.”
Gomm and her sister decided to cut and donate their hair in honor of their mom. Her brother and mother’s brothers all shaved their heads for her as well.
“I think it made her feel really good. She didn’t feel like she was alone,” said Gomm.
Gomm’s grandmother was recently diagnosed with Ductal Carcinoma In Situ Breast Cancer. Gomm, her grandmother and her mother all plan on attending the event. Gomm’s advice to others in her shoes is to stay positive, never give up and always be a support.
Last year the Relay for Life event in Provo/Orem raised about 10,000 dollars. They hope to break the record this year. The event will have live entertainment, early morning zumba, yoga classes and concessions. A beat-up car was also donated, and participants can donate money to hit the car with a sledgehammer.
“If people want to come, they don’t have to register, they can just show up,” said Haley Smedley, Community Relations of the American Cancer Society. “It will be something they will not forget.”
Smedley said everyone is welcome to come and participate in recognizing their survivors, to stick around for the luminary ceremony, and to bring a little cash with them.
To assure safety UVU police will be at the event and will have a light tower to provide light throughout the evening. They will also have first aid on hand to help those that may need assistance.
For more info about bereavement and support groups available in the valley, look up http://canarygarden.org/