Students came together to paint the town purple Sunday to raise awareness about the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Relay for Life is a day long festival that raises funds for the American Cancer Society. Participants are encouraged to register in teams.
The teams must keep at least one member walking laps for 24 straight hours to signify the battle cancer patients are continuously facing.
Members of the Relay for Life planning committee assembled to “paint the town” of La Verne by approaching local businesses about different ways to get involved with Relay for Life by hanging flyers, passing out donation buckets and raising awareness.
Chairman of Claremont and La Verne’s Relay for Life John Gilmore, administrative aide in the education department at the University of La Verne, was disappointed with the turn out but does not feel it was representative of his 20-30 person committee.
“We do have quite a bit of support throughout the university and all over,” Gilmore said.
“We have students, staff and faculty that are all members of our committee that are all making this happen.”
The purpose of the event was to reach out to local businesses throughout Old Town La Verne and on Foothill Boulevard.
Eight community members volunteered their time. The group covered their intended route but had hoped others would come alongside them.
Gilmore said President Devorah Lieberman was key in Relay for Life coming to the University this year after attending the event’s closing ceremony last year in Claremont.
Gilmore volunteered with Relay for Life for about a year but has been affected by cancer from an early age.
His best friend’s father died from cancer when Gilmore was nine. Gilmore’s grandmother and father both lost their battles with cancer as well.
His mother battled breast cancer and has been in remission for six years.
“We want to spread the word to raise awareness about cancer to promote research, treatment and prevention and promote the different service the American Cancer society provides for patients,” Gilmore said.
Gilmore says the Claremont and La Verne Relay for Life has a $100,000 donation goal this year.
Nusha Shishegar, resident of Rancho Cucamonga, has been volunteering with Relay for Life for six years.
“You know, I used to be able to be able to say I wasn’t affected by cancer and I didn’t know anybody that was,” Shishegar said.
“Now having been through this, unfortunately I’ve met way too many people. And that’s kind of the reason we do this, so we don’t have to have anyone hear those words anymore.”
Shishegar finds the event to be inspiring and enjoys watching survivors celebrate their birthdays.
“Cancer used to be a death sentence and now people say ‘Okay, I have it, now what am I going to do to beat it’,” Shishegar said.
Ashley Isacsson, sophomore business administration major, joined the planning committee as recruitment chairwoman because of the advantages it presented as an aspiring event planner.
“I was looking for opportunities in the community to kind of build my resume and volunteer and things and gain experience,” said Isaccson.
Relay for Life will take place on campus on May 3-4 from 9 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Tyler Harrison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.