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WKU News

Kathryn Steward guest speaker at WKU Relay for Life event

Posted: Tuesday, May 3, 2011 3:30 am
Lindsay Kriz College Heights Herald

Relay for Life heightens awareness of cancer

WKU Relay for Life Survivors
Cancer survivors pose for pictures during Relay for Life in Houchens-Smith Stadium this weekend. Many were multiple-generation cancer survivors or had family members who were affected by different types of cancer. Those affected by cancer "never get rest," according to speaker Kathryn Steward, assistant director of health education at WKU.
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Bowling Green High School senior Natalie Gugler was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 5 years old.

"I was expected to survive because we caught it right away," she said.


Gugler said she went through chemotherapy treatments, including spinal taps, bone marrow aspirations and IVs before the cancer fully receded.

"You're just a kid," she said. "Your parents tell you what's going on, but you don't know. The big thing is looking back and seeing."


To celebrate her recovery, Gugler attended WKU's annual Relay for Life Finale Event.

The event, which took place at Houchens-Smith Stadium, lasted from 7 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday.


Activities throughout the night included inflatable games, a corn hole tournament and a scavenger hunt.

Survivors had a dinner in Downing University Center before arriving at the stadium, where they walked half a lap amidst cheers and music.


At 11 p.m., participants lit luminarias and walked a lap in honor of loved ones who lost the battle with cancer. At 5 a.m., participants made a personal commitment to fighting cancer.

Lexington junior Abby Harvey said plans for the finale have been in place since August of last year, when the Relay for Life executive committee has a retreat to discuss plans.


Harvey said one of the best events is the Sober Bar Crawl, in which a man dresses as a woman and asks people at bars for money for the organization.

She said that staying up for so long didn't bother her.


"Cancer patients don't get a night off, so we can stay up one night for them," she said.

Pikeville senior Mitch Jackson, accounting chair for Relay for Life, said different teams compete throughout the night to raise the most money.


"It's my job to count it all up and determine who won," he said.

Jackson said there are about 30 groups of 10 to 15 people competing.


"We have a $40,000 goal this year," he said.

Evansville, Ind., senior Chad Beswick, president of the WKU Kentucky Public Health Association, said the goal is to heighten awareness and education about cancer.

"Ultimately, we want to get the Susan G. Komen walk here in Bowling Green in 18 months," he said. "The closest one is in Louisville, but there's nothing out west. We hope we can bring it here."

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