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Ohio University Southern students, staff get involved

Since 1956, Ohio University Southern has been an active part of the Lawrence County community - and we keep trying to do more each year.

On May 6 and 7, the campus participated in the third annual Lawrence County Relay for Life. Co-sponsored by Ohio University Southern and Fairland Local Schools, the event was held at the Fairland High School Track.

Forty teams raised more than $87,000 to support the American Cancer Society.

Three of those teams, raising a total of more than $10,000, were from Ohio University Southern.

More than 40 individuals came together to form these teams, to raise funds to support the fight against cancer, and to participate in what can perhaps be best described as a community wide block party for a cause.

Participation in Relay for Life extends far beyond the 18 hours spent at the site. The faculty and staff team, 3-year veterans of the event, began preparations

last May.

Selecting the theme of "Carmie's Army" in honor of Ohio University Southern employee, fellow teammate, and cancer survivor Carmie Stewart, the team set a goal to raise $2,500.

Fund-raising efforts included sales of candy bars and HOPE bracelets, chili samples at a Taste of the Town event held on campus, and Hope Floats at the Relay, as well as individual efforts. The result of all this work?

A total of more than $3,000 raised and the receipt of a "Silver Award" in recognition of raising between $2,500 and $4,999.

"It's an addictive experience," team captain Kim Addis said. "Once you start, you just can't stop. We're already planning our fund-raisers for next year!"

The Proctorville Center Team's "Courage Cabana" consisted of both students and staff from OUS Proctorville Center. As a first-year team with 15 members, the team set a goal of raising $1,000. In addition to selling candy bars and bracelets, team members sought community involvement by placing medallions and collection buckets at local businesses. This team also earned a "Silver Award" by raising more than $2,500.

"These students were great!

Not only did they earn a lot of money, they really stepped up to the plate during Relay," team captain Susan Haggard said. "One might expect this from adult business people, but these young college students proved just how dedicated and caring they really are!"

The third Ohio University Southern team, the OUS students, adopted the theme "Even a Bloomin' Idiot Knows We Need a Cure!"

With a fund-raising goal of $2,500 and 20 members, the team began their fund-raising efforts in early March.

Group fund-raising included a winter dance and benefit concert held at the Campus and Community Center, a bake sale

and more.

This rookie of the year team earned a "Gold Award" by raising more than $5,000 to place third in overall fund-raising.

"Even though I'm totally exhausted, I'm glad we did all the work.

It paid off in a big way," Belinda Parker, team co-captain, said. "Watching the survivor lap and the luminaria ceremony just reminded us of why we were there.

It's all about making a difference."

Carmie Stewart, co-captain of the staff and faculty team and a cancer survivor, agrees.

"Being a three-time cancer survivor, this event means a lot to me because it raises money to support research" Stewart said. "It gives everyone a chance to see that others have survivedŠit gives hope to those who have just been diagnosed.

"Walking the lap together shows just how much unity there is both among survivors and community members who are there to show support.

I'm just so proud of Ohio University Southern for taking such a strong role in this event."

Stephanie Burcham, co-chair of the Lawrence County Relay for Life and Director of the Proctorville Center, also expressed appreciation for the campus involvement.

"I was pleased and excited that Ohio University Southern had three teams this year, but I can't say I was surprised," Burcham said. "The faculty, staff and students at Ohio University Southern understand the connection between the success of the campus and the success of the community, and their work shows their commitment and dedication to both.

After all, it is our campus and our community!"

Kim Keffer is the director of enrollment services at Ohio University Southern. To reach Kim call (740) 533-4612 or at keffer@ohio.edu.