The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Relay for Life raises $80,000 for research

Students walk to help find cure for cancer

Tents, sleeping bags, couches, lawn chairs, barbecue grills,food and games lined the Boulevard Friday night. More than 427students sacrificed their Friday night to help raise money forcancer research.

Sponsored by the SMU Panhellenic Association, the AmericanCancer Society hosted its annual Relay for Life on the SMU campusfor the first time. The event did not just consist of 12 hours ofwalking to raise money for cancer research, but also featuredplenty of activities to keep the teams afloat all night long.

Entertainment included a movie screening, salsa dancing lessons,a game show, a raffle, a short seminar in self-defense and acontest to find “Mr. Relay” where men dressed in draginto the wee hours of the morning.

It began with survivors’ tales of disbelief and victoryfollowed by a slideshow of loved ones that had faced and still werefighting the deadly beast.

The first few laps around the Boulevard were lit with luminariesthat highlighted loved ones’ names.

Nancy Simonds, 53, a survivor and mother of Elise Simonds, ajunior psychology major at SMU, walked for a quarter of the nightwith her two daughters. Simonds had had breast cancer and overcameit seven years ago.

“You feel like you always have your health. When you get adisease, though, you just feel betrayed,” Simonds said.

Both of her daughters fear getting cancer one day because it isprevalent in their family.

However, they are both aware of the risks and are just glad tohave the possibility of their mother’s presence at theirweddings someday.

Simonds offered the advice of being your own advocate becausedoctors are unable to catch everything as well as being gratefulfor your life.

She believes that her positive attitude was the real hero of herovercoming breast cancer.

“Don’t live in sorrow. It only encourages thedisease,” Simonds said.

Ashley Davis, an sophomore economics major, was proud to be apart of something that raised $80,000 for cancer research at theend of the 12 hours. She remembers the exact day that shediscovered that her father had been diagnosed with cancer.

“I was in seventh grade playing in my basement when my momsaid I had to get on the phone to talk to my dad. And then he toldme,” Davis said.

Although Davis’ father has been in remission for sevenyears, Ms. Davis still worries about him and the possibility ofsomeday getting cancer herself.

“It’s not just my dad. It’s everyone you know.Life is short and unpredictable and you have to embrace everymoment,” Davis said.

Her positive spirit and tremendous amount of work on the event,as a member of Panhellenic’s executive board, made it asuccess.

“When great people come together, they have greatpotential to do great things,” Davis said.

As the night progressed on, the number of walkers disintegratedwhile the number of sleepers increased. The wind continued to blowand the temperature persisted to drop.

One participant, however, kept walking despite all thesefactors.

Charlton, a first-year student from Elgin, Texas, wore hispurple survivor shirt with pride.

Charlton was diagnosed with a malignant peripheral nerve sheathtumor in February of 2003. He was supposed to attend SMU in Augustbut was unable to because of his treatment.

“I was just lying on the couch one day when I noticed onehalf of my stomach poking out further than the other. That promptedme to go see the doctor,” said Charlton.

Charlton was not as lucky as Simonds. He was in the hospital afull week every three weeks for six to eight treatments. Charltonlost all his hair and had a kidney removed. He still bears a burnon his back from chemotherapy.

“I had no history of cancer in my family. I was just asenior in high school playing soccer, and the next day I had amalignant tumor in a muscle on my back,” Charlton said.

Even though Charlton had to finish high school from his home andhospitals, he was able to still attend prom and walk with his classon graduation day.

He said that life is still pretty hard and that he does not feelphysically back in shape yet.

He walked Friday night not to make a statement, but simplybecause he wanted to do it.

“I have all my friends walking out here with me from thethird floor of Shuttles Hall,” Charlton said, “andit’s pretty cool.”

Around 6 a.m., the aroma of fresh pancakes and brewing coffeeawoke many of the sleeping students.

The fundraiser closed at 6:45 a.m. with a rising sun, many yawnsand cheers from the crowd as the final total was announced.

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