Relay time for community unity

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In the course of a given year, certain events come to mark the calendar and define the experience of a student at DePauw. Whether it is the opening day of campus in the fall, Monon in a frigid stadium on the cusp of winter or a sunny Little Five Saturday afternoon, DePauw is positively an "events campus." Relay for Life is no exception. 

In just a few short days, the annual twenty-four hour walk to fight cancer will be here. Since last fall our teams have been fundraising, raising awareness about cancer prevention and hosting and events to benefit the cause. Relay will be held Saturday, April 30-May 1 at Blackstock Stadium (indoors at the Indoor Track and Field Center if inclement weather), and this year's event is themed "Superheroes to the Rescue" in honor of the superheroes in our own community who have fought against cancer, been caregivers for those suffering from cancer and worked tirelessly to end the dreaded disease. 

In the midst of all the organizing, preparations, and fundraisers, it's easy to forget why we are here. Relay for Life is an event that embodies the spirit of our community, where the students, faculty, staff and local residents join forces to battle this terrible disease. Cancer's effects are far-reaching. It touches our parents, our neighbors, our sisters, our brothers, our friends—no one person can completely escape its grasp.  We all know someone who has fought this battle. By supporting the American Cancer Society through this event, we can continue to search for a cure while continuing to support those facing life and death battles with the disease.  

In Greencastle, the benefits reaped by this event are not just monetary. Relay has helped to foster a strong partnership between the City of Greencastle and DePauw since the first annual event in 1996. Over the course of this year's fundraising season, local teams have hosted fundraisers throughout Putnam County, and these events have helped to generate foot traffic in local businesses while supporting a great cause. Similarly, team captain meetings and other campus events have brought local residents to DePauw where they work and interact with students. Because of our ability to work together during the past 15 years, Putnam County, Greencastle and DePauw have worked together to raise more than 1.5 million dollars to help find a cure.  

During Relay weekend our greek houses and identity groups don't divide us, and it makes no difference whether or not we grew up in Putnam County or overseas. Instead, for twenty four hours we come together for the common purposes of celebrating our survivors, remembering those who have lost loved ones and fighting back against this horrendous disease.  United against a universal cause, Relay brings us together and breaks down the barriers that too often get in our way.  

For more information on the event or to donate funds, visit our website at www.relayforlife.org/putnamcountyin, or contact us via email at roddreasmith_2011@depauw.edu or tylerarcher_2011@depauw.edu.  

We'll see you at Relay!  

-- Archer is a senior history major from Greencastle, Ind., and Smith is a senior psychology major from Indianapolis. They are the 2011 Putnam County Relay for Life Co-Chairs.

opinion@thedepauw.com