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Relay for Life at Keene State Raises $250,000+ over Nine Years

Keene State's Relay for Life team
Photo by Kiana Wright ’20

Relay for Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Association. The idea was started by Gordy Klatt, who walked and ran 83 miles around a track in 24 hours in 1985. In 2010, then-student Becca Lazinsk ’13 started Relay for Life at Keene State College. In the first year, Keene State raised $15,297. This past Saturday, March 30, more than 200 students and members of the community participated in the event held in the Spaulding Gym, raising $27,382 and bringing the nine-year total to over $250,000.

“I feel proud, ecstatic, and in a little bit of awe that Relay For Life at Keene State has continued to endure – and grow! – since first being held in 2010,” said Becca. “It was always important to me that the event would succeed after I graduated because Relay For Life is so much bigger than one person. The way Keene State – from students to faculty and staff – has rallied to support Relay For Life year over year speaks volumes about the community and culture of our school.”

This year’s event, entitled Not All Superheroes Wear Capes, featured improv troupe 3 Ways ’Til Sunday, Zumba, and the Keene State Dance Team. According to Jessica Gagne Cloutier, the coordinator of community service at Keene State, “At least one member from each team walked on the Relay track through the duration of the event – cancer doesn’t sleep, and neither do we!” The event also sponsored special laps and ceremonies that honored cancer survivors and those currently affected by cancer.

Catherine Cloutier, who serves on the Relay for Life of Keene State executive board, said that she got involved two years ago because her cousin was involved in an event at her college. “To me, it’s important to have students involved with Relay For Life because when we all work together as a community, we can make a huge difference to help fight cancer,” she said. “It’s inspiring to me because Keene State is on the smaller side, and in just nine years we have raised over $250,000.” Catherine believes that when we work together, we can really influence other lives, which can be extremely empowering.

Katelynn Kaimi, president of Relay for Life of Keene State, said she’s been involved in the program since fourth grade. She became a team captain and started fundraising herself in eighth grade. “Coming to Keene State, I caught wind that the school had its own Relay For Life event and that’s when I rediscovered why I was so passionate about it,” said Katelynn.

Planning the event can be stressful, but extremely rewarding, Katelynn added. She believes students should participate in Relay because everyone has been affected by cancer in some way. “I know that the work I’m doing and the money that we are raising is going to stop something that has personally affected me and those around me. Relay For Life allows me to finish the fight for my grandfather,” Katelynn said.

Relay for Life of Keene State College will continue to accept donations through the summer. You can make a contribution here.

By Henry Iwanowicz ’19

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Keene, New Hampshire 03435