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Relay_for_Life_logoOn Saturday, June 19, Marygrove College hosted the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Detroit. Symbolic of her open arms, the Our Lady of Marygrove statue welcomed the community of supporters into Marygrove’s gates to transform the lawn of the campus into a camp of organizations and teams. Over 40 teams and 700 participants celebrated 120 survivors and remembered the lives of 800 lost loved ones by pledging 24 hours of their time walking for a cure. The amount raised three days prior to the walk was over $45,000, which grew to $70,000 by the afternoon of the relay and finally totaled over $90,000 at the end of the event! The Detroit Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. raised the most, coming in at $15,143.

Marygrove was well-represented with its own team, The Grovers, who raised $2,771.00 and landed in the top 10 fundraisers (for raising over $2,500), receiving the American Cancer Society’s Silver Award for the second consecutive year. Special recognition goes to team member and Marygrove employee Teri Miller, top individual fundraiser for the fourth year in a row. She draws her motivation from the loss of numerous family members and friends over the years.

This year marked Relay for Life Detroit’s sixth year on campus, and Marygrove’s fourth year with a team. It all started in 2007 when Marygrove employee Melissa Samuels, donor relations coordinator, caught wind from her Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority sister, Chiara Clayton, American Cancer Society Community Representative, that Relay for Life Detroit had been held on Marygrove’s campus. Samuels was asked to serve on the Relay for Life Detroit committee, which she accepted and ultimately chaired for three years.

"Melissa told me about it and we went to the kick-off meeting,” said Sharon Enoex, Marygrove’s payroll coordinator, who took on the role of representing Marygrove College as captain of The Grovers. “My daughter was there, and she really motivated me to do this!” This year, Sandi Combs, an administrative assistant for Marygrove’s Institute for Music and Dance, created the Grovers’ new t-shirt logo, Martin McNeely, building maintenance lead for the College, made the props and games for The Grover’ booth, and Roosevelt Lawrence, a Campus Security manager, was credited for being an outstanding new team member.

The day offered plenty of fun and games for the participants. In addition to karaoke and a Greek stroll-off, there was an opportunity to enroll in the American Cancer Society's third Cancer Prevention Study (CPS-3). Already, more than 6,000 “relayers” from 21 different events in Michigan and Indiana have enrolled in CPS-3.

When the day drew dim, the night was brightened by the glow of illuminated bags called luminaria, an emotional tribute to survivors and those lost to cancer. Each bag had the name of someone who had battled cancer. The bags bordered the path around the Our Lady of Marygrove statue as their loved ones continued to walk late into the night. Teri Miller lit over 15 bags for family and friends lost. She lit bags for donors’ loved ones who couldn’t be there too. “A really great friend of mine lost her husband the day before the walk,” said Miller.