Students go bananas for Relay for Life

Students are going bananas for Relay For Life—literally. Mikey, an 18-year-old capuchin monkey, came to SMU’s campus last Wednesday to help kick-off this year’s Relay For Life.

Students who already signed up for the event were allowed to hold Mikey and take pictures with him. Those who registered that day were allowed to hold the monkey as well. Mikey even got the chance to meet SMU’s favorite man on campus, men’s basketball Head Coach Larry Brown.

SMU Men's Basketball Head Coach Larry Brown holds on to Mikey the monkey. (Courtesy of Deanna Moon)

Relay For Life is an annual event hosted by the American Cancer Society around the world. The signature event not only raises money for cancer research, but also brings communities together to honor loved ones who are battling cancer or who have lost the battle to cancer.

“To me, Relay For Life represents hope for a world without cancer,” junior Relay for Life Co-Chair Katie Meier said. “I believe that one day, the world we live in will be cancer free.”

Relay For Life is SMU’s largest philanthropic event on campus. Since its inception in 2004, the event has raised a total of $1,211,563 and is currently ranked No. 12 in the nation, up against colleges two or three times its size. Last year, Relay for Life at SMU raised more than $30,000 in three days for the “Number One Relay Challenge.”

This year’s Relay For Life will be held on Bishop Boulevard April 10 from 6 p.m to midnight, reducing the event’s duration to only six hours.

This year’s theme is “Cirque de Relay.” According to Allie Shaffer, SMU Relay for Life adviser, the Boulevard will be circus themed and have exciting new fundraising activities for teams to participate in. They are hoping that by making the event shorter, it will allow for even more students to attend and stay longer.

“Students can expect inspiring and powerful ceremonies to honor those affected by cancer, live entertainment, games, activities, yummy food and lots of fun,” Meier said.

As of Tuesday, 506 participants signed up for the event and SMU Relay has already raised more than $26,317. This year, committee members are hoping to have at least 1,500 participants attend to beat last year’s number of 1,400.

“Cancer is such a scary thing that can shake your world to the core,” said Relay for Life Director of Administration Deanna Moon, who lost her grandfather to the terrible disease before her freshmen year.

“I didn’t realize how much cancer could take away from me until I watched [my grandfather] fight and eventually lose his battle with cancer.”

Moon believes that it is imperative for the SMU community to participate in Relay for Life.

“With the joint effort of this campus, we can combat this disease that has already taken too much from us and work together, step-by-step, toward a cancer free world,” Moon said.

To help fight the battle against cancer, sign up at to join or start a team.

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