Relay raises awareness and support
Monday, October 1, 2007
By Kimberly Sikes
November of 2005, Kim Gaither passed away after a long struggle with
breast cancer. The next year, her daughter Brianna Gaither started a
new service project as National Honor Society President at Oklahoma Christian Academy. This year, Gaither is in charge of the Oklahoma Christian chapter of the Relay for Life project she started last year.
“It’s a pretty big step down from last year because last year I was the chairman of the entire event, but it’s an Oklahoma Christian Academy
event, so I couldn’t have that kind of position this year,” Gaither
said. “The biggest thing I could do this year is manage the OC chapter
of the relay. I’m OC chairman with Morgan Nash.”
Gaither actually started this Relay for Life event as an annual service project for OCA’s National Honor Society.
really wanted to add a service project, and we wanted to do something
really great,” Gaither said. “There were people there at OCA who really
loved my mom and there are people here who really love Mom and we
wanted something that would get into the community and would also raise
money for that cause and to have a lot of fun and do it in memory of
Gaither had participated in Relay for Life events twice before, and decided it would be a good service project to add.
decided to hold a first annual Relay for Life,” Gaither said. “We
decided the best place to hold it would be [Oklahoma Christian] because
people knew her here. This was such a big part of her life that this
seemed like the place that would be the best and that people would get
most involved on this campus.”
This year, the event is taking place on Oct. 5 and 6 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
a Relay for Life event, participants form teams which raise money for
cancer research. Participants may walk in memory of or in honor of a
friend who has struggled with cancer. These names are put on luminarias
that light the walking track.
member of each team is on the track at all times. The only time the
track is empty is from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. At this time, there is a
ceremony recognizing those who have suffered or are suffering from
the end of the ceremony, all the names on the luminarias are read out
loud. After all the names are read, everyone participating completes a
lap around the track together in silence.
at this year’s event will include performances by the Summer Singers
and New Reign. Gaither herself will also be performing some original
songs with a friend.
This event is a big undertaking and includes many challenges for those who are working to make it happen.
and emotionally there are so many things that go into it. This is a new
job for me that I’m keeping track of all the teams and what’s been most
difficult is not having faces with names,” Gaither said. “You have
people calling you all the time, but it’s really hard to keep track of
who’s called you and what their problem was and what they need without
having a face on it.”
on and participating in Relay for Life is a rewarding experience for
all involved. It not only helps people by funding research, but it also
helps by showing emotional support for those effected.
for Life is] such a good cause and it raises so much money for
research. It also honors people who are struggling with cancer,”
Gaither said. “This is their life, people who are dealing with cancer
and this is daily. Every single day they deal with this. This is a way
for us and for them to come out and do a lap and say ‘we’re supporting
you, we want to help you; we want to raise money for the cause that you
It is an active way for those who have dealt with problems from cancer to feel they are working in their community.
those who have lost, such as me, they can go and feel like they’re
doing something, and not just sitting and doing anything about the
experiences that they’ve gone through,” Gaither said.
It is much more than a way to raise money for cancer research.
also to give people an insight into other people’s lives. For example,
people who have never dealt with cancer, never known anyone who’s dealt
with cancer, it’s a way for them to get involved to understand,”
Gaither said. “Especially since it’s a Christian organization held on a
Christian Campus, we’re able to bring the Holy Spirit into the workings
of this process. We’re able to very openly portray the love of Christ
through this event.”
those who are not part of a team are encouraged to come out and show
their support. The $10 entry fee also goes toward funding cancer