CAC Keeps the Fight Alive, fun

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CAC members running last year's Relay For Life. Photo by Pete Gaughan

Peter Gaughan, Staff Writer

Every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Bell Conference Center, a group of students come together to spend over an hour at a time updating each other and brainstorming collectively about the group’s fight against cancer.

This group of students is Colleges Against Cancer (CAC), the affiliate of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the organization responsible for events like Pink Week, Great American Smoke Out and Relay for Life.

“CAC is an org that has an incredibly real impact on the world,” said President of CAC Casey Hourican, a junior with a personal connection to the fight against cancer. “We can bring the campus together and make student life more fun, but the amazing thing is while we do that, we also help end this terrible disease.”

Co-Relay For Life Chair Liz Gabel, a sophomore, and Fundraising Chair Kristina Kuil agreed, adding that the organization was always looking for fun things to do on campus while also having a real impact. Kuil mentioned the organization has, over the past few years, raised tens of thousands of dollars for the ACS.

“It is amazing how much good we can do, it really feels like we are helping save the world and end people’s suffering,” Gabel said. “ACS does so much good, from research to treatment to even like housing and family support.”

Lyndsey Chenier, a graduate student and the treasurer of CAC, has seen the organization grow and evolve.

“I have seen this org grow over the past few years; it has brought people together and done amazing things for the UC community and the fight against cancer,” she said.

CAC holds events throughout the semester, including Pink Week to raise money for breast cancer research, and the Great American Smoke Out (GASO), targeted at ending smoking and lung cancer.

But the capstone event is Relay For Life.

Relay For Life is a 12-hour, all-night fundraiser where hundreds of people gather together to collectively fight cancer. It takes a month of preparation and leaves many CAC members putting in dozens of hours of work — which they all said was more than worth it.

“Is it hard? Yes. Is it a ton of work? Of course. Do I plan on doing it every year I’m at UC and beyond? Absolutely. Because it really is that amazing of an event” Gabel said.

Relay For Life takes months of preparation, and Hourican mentioned one of the hardest parts is recruiting teams.

“Everyone who goes definitely wants to come back because it is so fun and you feel so good because you are doing such an incredible thing, but getting people to come is hard,” she said. “I think people are intimidated, but trust me, CAC does the hard stuff, you just get a team of your friends together and come to have fun.”

CAC offers live music, Zumba, mini-intramurals, bingo and anything else it can think of to keep people entertained and awake. Members describe it as “some of the most fun you can have on campus but while also doing real-world good.”

Email Liz Gabel (elgabel@utica.edu) if you have not signed up for Relay for Life, or contact Casey Hourican (cahouric@utica.edu) if you are interested in getting more involved in CAC.


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