Relay for Life event returns to Southern

In June Missouri Southern will sponsor the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life for the first time since 2006. The all-night event will start at 6 p.m. June 14.

The fundraising event was created by Dr. Gordy Klatt in 1986 to raise funds for research and patient recovery programs. In that first relay, 19 teams took part in a 24-hour run and raised $33,000 for the local American Cancer Society office, according to Since then, there have been more than 5,200 Relay for Life events across the United States.

The theme for Southern’s Relay for Life is a Hawaiian luau. Event coordinator Penny Richeson, AVC catalog clerk at Spiva Library, said more than 10 relay teams will raise money for the event, including teams from Walgreens, Elk’s Lodge, Sam’s Club, Mercy Hospital and local banks.  

Activities at the event will include a survivor walk, where local cancer survivors will do a lap to celebrate their victories over cancer, as well as a luminaria ceremony. The luminaria are decorated bags dedicated to loved ones lost to cancer. The lighted bags are placed around the relay track once the sun goes down.

In addition to these Relay for Life staples, team tents will be set up for fundraising, band performances, silent auctions, food vendors, games and entertainment for all.

 “There is a queen relay that we have that guys dress up like queens and run around the track and raise money,” Richeson says. “They’re hilarious.”

Students may form teams or simply join Southern team’s. For $10, participants may register online or on the day of the event. The fee includes an event T-shirt. People may also donate online at

Pizza Hut has agreed to donate a percentage of its proceeds every fourth Tuesday through May. To help this way, make sure to tell your server you are there for Relay for Life.

Richeson is also looking for local cancer survivors to treat to a free dinner on June 7, a week before the event.