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Oak Leaves

April 7, 2017

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ESAT Students Rally for Cancer Survivors 


Virginia Rendler 

If you’ve driven through downtown North Manchester recently, you may have noticed a multitude of purple ribbons tied to trees and lamp posts lining the streets. These purple ribbons signify the upcoming superhero-themed Relay for Life, to be held on Saturday, April 22. The relay honors the hundreds of cancer survivors in Wabash County, and Manchester University students are helping to organize it.

Relay for Life is a cancer awareness event put on by the American Cancer Society. It brings people together to celebrate cancer survivors and to remember those who have been lost to the disease. Teams will have someone on the track for each hour of the event to show their support.
The event includes a survivor dinner and silent auction, and survivors will be honored with a victory lap during the relay. 

Manchester University’s Exercise Science and Athletic Training program is heavily involved in the upcoming event. Dr. Kim Duchane, associate professor of health and physical education at Manchester, said that the three programs within ESAT, physical education teaching, exercise science, and athletic training, all care deeply about health promotion, and that supporting this event was a good use of service efforts. 

“The Health Promotion students serve on the Survivor Committee,” Duchane said. “We plan for special events during the Relay for the survivors.  We have an opening ceremony, then the survivors and their caregivers walk their lap, then we serve them lunch and give them a gift bag.  As you can imagine, it takes all of us to coordinate the lap and serve over 200 people.  We also set and decorate the reception area, put up banners, collect the food donations and several other tasks.” The entire relay has a committee from the event leadership team. Duchane represents the university, and has five students who serve with him: Mikayla Duzan, Sarah Arney, Carissa Fockler, Courtney Hersick and Taylor Loshe. 

Mikayla Duzan is a first year physical education major. Her role in the relay is reaching out to various clubs and councils on campus and asking them to consider walking in the relay. “Relay for Life is important because it works to fight against cancer by celebrating those who have won the battle against cancer and remembering those who fought hard but couldn't overcome it,” Duzan said. “ESAT students take part in this event because we believe it is important to give back to the community and support a cause that so many people have been affected by in one way or another.” Duzan said she was looking forward to seeing the support from the Manchester community to help make this year’s relay a success. 

Of the 30 teams involved with the relay, 10 of them are from Manchester University. “We also have groups that help us organize, set up and clean up during event,” Duchane said.  “I am really proud of our Spartan football team, who has been with us from the beginning.  They provide a valuable service to the community in organizing the event.”

Duchane and Duzan encourage everyone to get involved in the event. “There is a way for everyone to participate in Relay for Life,” Duzan said. “Whether it's walking in the relay, promoting cancer awareness or being there and showing support, everyone can find a way to get involved.”

The event will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22 at the Manchester Community Schools Administration Building, 404 West 9th St. in North Manchester. It will end at 10 p.m. that evening.