Students Hope Weekend's Relay for Life Exceeds $40,000 Goal

The new academic year began with a goal: $40,000.

Nine months later Nebraska Wesleyan’s student organization Colleges Against Cancer has nearly reached its Relay for Life fundraising goal — before their anticipated 400 walkers even take a step.

Starting at 6 p.m. on Friday, twenty-three teams of 400 students, faculty, staff, and the Lincoln community will walk for 12 hours all in the spirit of saving lives during Nebraska Wesleyan’s Relay for Life.

“It’s not hard because it’s something I’m very passionate about,” said senior psychology major Deanna Dirkschneider, who serves as the Colleges Against Cancer president.

Dirkschneider admits allocating time to writing papers, studying research methods, practicing for track competitions, and overseeing eight Relay for Life committees may seem a bit daunting at times.

But seeing cancer’s effect on a young child she has befriended makes it well worth her time and efforts.

Each summer Dirkschneider volunteers at Camp Quality Heartland, which provides a camping experience and ongoing support for children with cancer and their families. She visits monthly with one of those children from her camp experience.

“We can impact the fight against cancer,” she said.

With her interest in the American Cancer Society first stemming from her role as team captain in high school, Dirkschneider increased her participation in college, helping with the fundraising committee for two years and serving as fundraising chair last year.

Dirkschneider said her role as the organization’s leader has taught her valuable life skills.

“People can ask you anything,” said Dirkschneider. “You can’t be afraid of people telling you no. You have to have thick skin.”

As the year has unfolded, Dirkschneider and her Relay committees have collaborated with two Lincoln businesses, Raising Canes and Yogurtini, which have donated portions of proceeds to Colleges Against Cancer. With the help of the Lincoln and NWU communities, Colleges Against Cancer has already raised just under $40,000 heading into the weekend’s Relay.

“I’ve been blessed with a really great committee,” said Dirkschneider. “It’s definitely a huge honor. It’s been a really great opportunity.”

Relay For Life begins on Friday, April 12 at 6 p.m. in Knight Field House. Hamburgers will be served by Zeta Psi Fraternity outside of the Weary Center starting at 5 p.m., with music by Release Time, a tug-a-war competition, food and games planned throughout the evening. The event concludes at 6 a.m. on Saturday, April 13. People can attend anytime throughout the night. Cost is $10.

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