United in Song for a Cause

February 7, 2012

Mary Baldwin University’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer will host an a cappella showcase February 10 to support the college’s 10th anniversary Relay for Life, one of the campus’s most unifying charity events.

Performing with Mary Baldwin’s own Baldwin Charm will be the singing groups General Admission from Washington and Lee, BellACappella from Mary Washington, and Low Key from James Madison University. The performances begin at 7 p.m. in Francis Auditorium. Admission is $5; $4 for those wearing a Relay for Life shirt.

“Everyone likes to be entertained and a cappella groups showcase the pure talent of their members,” said Colleges Against Cancer Vice President Emily Parker ’13. “Attendees should expect some amazing singing, of course, but there will also be door prizes and a chance to support Mary Baldwin’s Relay for Life.”

The singing showcase is one of several events Colleges Against Cancer hosts to raise money specifically for Relay for Life, scheduled for March 16. Other fundraisers have included a mixer that featured vocal performances by Baldwin Charm and Virginia Military Institute’s Men in Grey and game nights in Grafton Library. One of the most successful campaigns so far this year was the sale of T-shirts and buttons to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“Although Relay participants have different experiences with cancer, they are all bound together by the cause, which is to stop cancer,” said Kristin Reese ’12, survivorship committee co-chair and member of the “Partying for a Cause” Relay team.

About 175 students have registered in recent years for Relay for Life teams at Mary Baldwin, honoring someone they know who has battled cancer, or supporting their friends who have been affected by the disease in some way. Some teams include students’ family members as well as faculty members. Students in the President’s Society, for example, formed a team in honor of Director of Admissions Roberta Palmer, a cancer survivor.

Staff members also play a significant role in Relay. Access Service Coordinator for Grafton Library Christina Daniel is the advisor for Colleges Against Cancer. She and her husband are heavily involved by helping plan the various events and providing the food for the concessions stand.

“Cancer affects so many people on this campus, and the high rate of participation shows they want to fight back and they want things to get better,” Parker said.

Each Relay includes a survivors’ lap, a luminaria ceremony, and a fight-back ceremony. With the theme “A Decade of Fighting,” this year’s event will mark 10 years of support from the Mary Baldwin community. The overnight event is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. March 16 on the track at the Physical Activities Center.

According to online statistics tracked on the official Relay for Life website, 119 participants have already raised $4,520 on behalf of the Mary Baldwin event. This year’s fundraising goal is $25,000 after participants successfully raised close to $20,000 in 2011. The Relay for Life funds support many programs sponsored by the American Cancer Society that directly help cancer patients and their families. These include Look Good … Feel Better, which teaches female cancer patients beauty tips during chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and Road to Recovery, a program that provides rides to patients who have no way to get to their cancer treatment. The money also goes toward cancer research; $3.2 billion has been invested in research since 1946.