Community gathers to fight cancer

All across the country people put forth the effort to help people gain knowledge, find cures and remember those who have struggled with the continuous battle of cancer.  On Saturday,  Nov. 13, the university played their part in the battle for cancer as they provided the grounds for the 15th annual Relay For Life of South Tangipahoa Parish. Relay For Life took place at North Oak Park from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The park was filled with tents set up throughout. In each camp site people were taking donations or raffling things to help raise money for cancer.  There was music, food, drinks and entertainment for the people in attendance.

“Everybody likes to go for a party so we have food, music and drinks and at the same by them coming out here it makes them aware of the benefits of the American Cancer Association especially here in South Tangipahoa Parish, said Steven Pugh state representative for district 73.

 The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled with cancer. The event officially kicked-off at 10: 30 when a large group of cancer survivors led by the Big Fun Brass Band walked the first lap of the evening celebrating victory for battling and defeating cancer.

“The most important event is the survivor march, it’s to commemorate that they have survived and went through the trials of cancer and here they are in rare form,” said Pugh.

Once the survivors finished their lap it was time to begin the official Relay For Life. The different participating teams took the baseball diamond and began to lap around the outer edge of the field along the foul lines. Some participants walked and some jogged but all of them had their purpose for participating. Some participants included Delta Tau Delta, Walgreens, Test Team, Team Yo and Walkers for Trixi to name a few.

“They are all volunteers they come together as a community to fight cancer so each person out there is part of an organization or group of people who want to walk or run to raise money for cancer, said Sarah Mitchell,  Relay For Life board member for South Tangipahoa Parish. The relay lasted from 10: 45 until 4:30 that evening. During the relay there was entertainment available for by standers on the stage and different teams had booths set up where people come by and admire their decorations and even drop off a donation.

To cap off the evening, the Relay For Life participants took the field to remember those who lost their lives battling cancer in the Luminaria Ceremony. This event was the most emotional part of the evening as loved ones lite candles and bags that revealed the names of loved ones they lost.

“This is a fun event but at the end of the day the reality is the battle with cancer is often lost and this is just the part where we remember those who lost,” said Ashley Jones, resident of Covington, and granddaughter of a former cancer patient.  

Overall the event was a success. The Relay For Life set out to raise $200,000 and by days end the goal was in reach.

“People raise money throughout the year and today is the final day that all the money came together to help us reach our goal, said Mitchell. “For us to raise $200,000 from this area is amazing, last year we were in the top 10 in the state for raising money.” Southeastern played a significant role in the event as the Southeastern Division of Administration and Finance topped the list raising $7,516.11 and the Southeastern Tech Team donated $6,335.

“We couldn’t do it without the help from Southeastern,” said Mitchell. “It’s a huge contribution that the university makes. They provide the facilities and staff members also volunteer to help us set up and breakdown.”All proceeds from the event will go to the American Cancer Association to help find cures and help people fight back against cancer.  For more info on Relay For Life events visit