By Kevin Smith

Eastern’s gearing up to walk all night for cancer, the disease that never sleeps.

On April 14, students and faculty will be heading down to the intramural fields on campus to participate in the Relay for Life, a charity event that raises money and awareness for cancer research. Relay for Life, which runs from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., will feature a variety of fundraising activities.

The main component is the relay itself, in which teams have their members take turns walking laps around the track continuously through the night.

When members aren’t making their laps, they’ll have other stuff to do: Enjoy live music, participate in various corn hole or volleyball tournaments or test their mettle in the hot dog eating contest. In addition, there will be movies playing as well as all manner of other games and activities.

This is the first year Eastern has hosted a version of the Relay since 2004. Madison County has its own Relay, but it’s scheduled for June 15, when most students have already gone home for summer, said Jessica Heron, event co-chair and child and family studies major. Heron said the event is open to anyone who wants to attend, whether they’re students, faculty or local residents.

There are various activities scheduled for nearly every hour, and they’re divided into two major areas: The Turf Events and the Top Field Events. Borrowed Blue, a country band, is expected to kick-off the entertainment after the opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. At 10 p.m., candles in paper bags, called luminaries, will be placed around the track in glowing honor of those whose lives have been touched by cancer.

The relay portion of the evening also will feature its own mini-events. For instance, at select times, team members will be dressing up either as movie stars or in Eastern regalia for their laps, Heron said.

 As of now, there are 19 teams and a total of 114 participants scheduled to take part in the event. The team that’s raised the most money so far is Delta Zeta Xi Beta, according to the event’s web site.  

 “$430 has already been raised, and our goal is to reach a $1,000,” said Blair Adkins, public relations major and Delta Zeta president.

In order to show support, students and faculty are encouraged to decorate their dorms, offices and the entire campus with the color purple.

“At the end of the week each dorms and office buildings will be judged according to creativity, and a special prize will be awarded to the winner in the final hours of the event,” Heron said. Donations will be turned in during the event. All proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society in support of cancer research.

As of now, there has been a total of $1,243 raised and more is expected, officials said.