Relayer of the Month: October 2017

Congratulations to Stephanie Claar of Relay For Life at Frostburg on being nominated and chosen for October's Relayer of the Month! 

Why Stephanie Relay's: 

I Relay for my mom, who I lost this past April to her almost seven-year battle with cancer. I Relay so that holidays don't begin to signify another year past, one fewer with your loved one. I Relay so no one has to graduate college without their biggest cheerleader being in the audience. I Relay so that one day no one has to lose their best friend, daily phone call, role model, and hero. 


Relay means support. Relay For life is magic on Frostburg's campus, which is what made me fall in love with it. Relay is where every single student on our campus can come together for one cause and be one university. No matter who we are or what organizations we are in, we all put aside our differences and come together as a University to make our mark in eliminating cancer from our world. Relay is hope.

Why Stephanie was nominated: 

Stephanie has been a part of Colleges Against Cancer and RFL of FSU since I took over the event 4 years ago. This past April right before Relay, Steph lost her Mom Melisa who had a 7 year battle with breast cancer. My heart was breaking for her and I fully expected not to see her until the fall semester started. However, Stephanie not only returned and completed her spring classes, she got on stage at Relay in front hundreds of people and shared her story. A story that moved everyone to tears and put a face to this awful disease. She is one of the strongest, most resilient and genuine people I know. A few weeks ago Stephanie was working on ideas to get the campus more involved with the lifesaving mission of ACS and has decided to use the FSU homecoming festivities as another platform to reach people. Stephanie is our Homecoming Queen candidate representing Colleges Against Cancer. Each candidate has to pick a charity to promote and raise money for and of course, her choice was The American Cancer Society. CAC has never participated in homecoming and we are sure she will be as successful with this as she is in everything she does. Thank you Steph for being the light and inspiring everyone around you.

Do you know an amazing volunteer like Stephanie Claar? Nominate them now for November's Relayer of the Month here.

Relayer of the Month: July 2017

Congratulations to Jessica Meek of Relay For Life at Westlake on being nominated and chosen for July's Relayer of the Month! 

Why Jessica Meek Relay's: 

I have always had a desire to help and bring joy to others. Relay For Life was the perfect outlet for this passion. In just one event, we simultaneously are able to give hundreds of people one of the most fun experiences of their lives while raising money and awareness for a disease that has plagued so many of our lives. Cancer has touched the lives of so many, including several of my immediate family members. I have lost one aunt to lung cancer and a grandmother to stomach cancer. That said, I have also seen my other grandmother survive a battle with breast cancer. 

Whether we like it or not, cancer touches all of our lives, and without early diagnosis and proper treatment, it can rob us of those we love, as it did with me. This is why I knew the fight against cancer was where my passion would be best used, and with that, I found my place at Relay for Life. I am very grateful to receive this honor. I would like to use this opportunity to thank all who help with this amazing event and who aid in the fight against cancer year round. One day, we will be in a world without cancer. 

Why Jessica was nominated: 

Jessie Meek took on the role as the Lead student ambassador for Westlake High School this year. Jessie lead the students at Westlake High School by first recruiting several new ambassadors and motivating them to spread the word and get everyone excited about the 2017 Relay For Life of Westlake. Through her leadership the Relay For Life of Westlake raised over $62,000, which was over $25,000 increase from the year before, and out of that $62,000, $37,000 was raised from the students across the school district. With her leadership of the student ambassadors, participation increased from 250 people to nearly 600 registered participants this year! Jessie is graduating from Westlake High School this year bet has set the ground work to ensure that Relay For Life of Westlake continues to be an important event for the students at WHS for years to come.  

Do you know an amazing volunteer like Jessica Meek? Nominate them now for August's Relayer of the Month here.

Relayer of the Month: June 2017

Congratulations to James Gessner of Relay For Life at Del Val on being nominated and chosen for June's Relayer of the Month! 

Why James Relay's  I am an advisor for the National Honor Society at Del Val. Last year I asked my NHS members what kind of activity they would like to do for a fundraiser at Del Val. We had 3 students come forward that really wanted Relay for Life to come to Del Val: Amalia Crevani, Jessica King, and Savanna Granger. It was their enthusiasm that convinced us to contact Kris and Tracy.

I am also the president of the Delaware Valley Regional Education Association. The DVREA is the union that represents the professionals and professional support staff. In my role as president, I often am the first point of contact for members with medical conditions. I work with our administration to help our members explore their benefit options. Before I held my union position, I had never realized how many people, that I saw every day, were battling with cancer.

Relay For Life will help our students, our staff, our administration, and the community to walk together against cancer. Suffering from cancer can be a very lonely experience without a sense of community support. It is my hope that Relay for life can help us all connect better and also to raise money for this very important cause.

Why James was nominated: "Mr. James Gessner is the advisor for this growing high school Relay For Life event. This season, 2017, is the second year Delaware Valley Regional H.S. is hosting a Relay For Life since their inaugural event in May 2016. Mr. Gessner has been an individual that kept this Relay event on the track, showing growth, organized, motivated, and mist importantly educational to all of the students, staff & community involved. As their ACS Staff Partner, I am actually finding it hard to find the necessary words to be able to fully and accurately explain how much Mr. Gessner deserves the Relayer of the Month honor. What I can share is this truthful statement from both my professional personal feelings: Mr. Gessner went above and beyond the normal duties we expect from a Relay Advisor. Not only does he advise other clubs/organizations at their school, but he teaches full time, he serves as the school districts Union President, he works with athletics, administration , and parents.

He is involved in his community and surrounding communities. Since this Relay started, Mr. Gessner has proudly brought Relay For Life with him wherever he went; his classroom, to board meetings, to administration and parental meetings - everywhere. He kept his all of this under control, found success everywhere he went and showed the true characteristics we all look and hope for in a Relay Leader, which directly brought success to their event this year. I could go on and on about what this individual has done for our Relay For Life movement in the community and on this high school campus, but it was his actions that spoke so loudly this year and inspired so many new individuals, youth & adults, to join our fight against cancer. I couldn't think of anyone who deserves this honor more than Mr. James Gessner."

Do you know an amazing volunteer like James? Nominate them now for July's Relayer of the Month here.

Relayer of the Month: May 2017

Congratulations to A.J. McCafferty of Relay For Life at Old Dominion University on being nominated and chosen for May's Relayer of the Month! 

Why A.J. Relay's:  This year, I Relay for Dr. Richard Schwartz, who lost his battle with Cancer in March after many long months of fighting. I also Relay for the ODU community in hopes of informing our campus and bringing us together as one to support the fight against cancer!  

Why A.J. was nominated: "A few weeks ago, just before the Relay For Life of Old Dominion University, a gentleman emailed A.J. explaining that he is a Survivor, had made a donation to Relay and was wondering if he could get a survivor shirt.  He had just been recently diagnosed.  A.J. drove to Virginia Oncology Associates in Chesapeake to deliver the t-shirt while the gentleman was receiving treatment.  It didn't stop there... A.J. sat and visited with this man during treatment.  They have been in regular communication since then and A.J. has agreed to visit with him during his treatments until A.J. moves this summer.  A.J. not only committed a tremendous amount of time to leading the RFL of Old Dominion University, he's in his last month of school, job searching and planning a move.  He could have simply dropped off the t-shirt but instead, he sat and comforted a stranger who is battling the disease that A.J. is so determined to help find a cure for.  If that isn't a true testament to our mission and leading the mission, I don't know what is."

Do you know an amazing volunteer like A.J.? Nominate them now for June's Relayer of the Month here.

Relayer of the Month: April 2017

Congratulations to Patrick Sweeney of Relay For Life at Purdue University on being nominated and chosen for April's Relayer of the Month! 

Why Patrick Relay's: "When I was a sophomore in high school, I went to my first Relay For Life at Marist High School in Chicago. To my surprise, my mom, who is currently a 13-year breast cancer survivor, was the survivor speaker. Because I was in first grade when she was undergoing treatment, I don’t remember much about it; however, I do remember the constant visits to the hospital, the fear of my father, and the complete change in family dynamics. What struck me most is that rather than talk about the fear and the pain she experienced, she talked about how while she was spending weeks in the hospital, neighbors would bring my family dinner, drive her to and from treatments, watch me and my siblings, and so much more. Since that moment, I saw the power of solidarity and community. I Relay because I know how terrible cancer is, but more importantly I know how powerful community and togetherness can be."

Why Patrick was nominated: "If I had to choose one person that embodies all the amazing things that CAC and the American Cancer Society does, Patrick would be that person. He is one of the most passionate, hardworking, and spirited ELT volunteers I have had the pleasure of working with during my 6 years with the ACS and Relay for Life. Patrick brings the 4 pillars of CAC (advocacy, cancer education, relay for life, survivorship) into his team meetings, activities at past Relay for Life events, and publicity events on campus. As this year’s VP of Relay for Life at Purdue University, he is working to be innovative in his leadership styles, working to motivate his new team to be the best that they can for each other, the participants, and for the ACS."

Do you know an amazing volunteer like Patrick? Nominate them now for May's Relayer of the Month here.