The event will be held Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, at Ah-Nab-Awen Park. Team members collect pledges ahead of time and then walk or run a course along the riverfront to raise funds. The relays continue around the clock and several special events are also scheduled throughout the 24-hour time period to keep the pace lively.
“This started as an idea I had for summer community service hours for my students back in January,” said Nursing Instructor Vicki Meyers. “It’s a great way for my nursing students to obtain their required service hours in a health-related endeavor.”
The American Cancer Society, which holds the Relay For Life in communities across the U.S. annually, came up with the theme Everyone's Dreams Can Come True for this year’s event and asked each participating team to select a fairy tale and ‘twist it’ to depict the Fight Against Cancer. GRCC’s team of nursing students chose “The Princess and the Pea.”
“Our tent will be the castle bedroom and we’ll have mattresses, a princess doll and a large green ball for the pea,” said Meyers. “The pea represents cancer, the princess is anyone who has been affected by cancer and will feel the pea no matter how many layers of support provided. Our nurses will symbolize helping patients and family members carry that weight by carrying 4 lb. hand weights when they walk.”
Meyers explained that her team will increase the weight they carry each hour during the relay laps leading up to the final hour when the entire team will be walking together and carrying 44 pounds collectively to symbolize the cancer patient becoming cancer free.
The team will also be selling t-shirts, face tattoos, glow necklaces, necklaces with the breast cancer ribbon or a cross, plus providing blood pressure readings and painting nails with designs. “And all of the proceeds from all those activities will go to the American Cancer Society,” said Meyers.
Two other GRCC groups – one of Support Professionals (whose theme is Start Light, Start Bright) and another of students participating through the Department of Experiential Learning (whose theme is Happily Ever After) will be also be participating in the Relay For Life.
In May, GRCC was one of only two community colleges in Michigan to make The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in recognition of their community service.
Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.