Relay For Life with Madi Parks

Madi Parks is a shining star, raising awareness about a cause that is dear to her heart: cancer. In the four months of 2016, about 27,000 new cases of cancer were treated in Alabama alone. But this is not just a state problem, cancer takes millions of lives every year, which drives communitues to band together to inform the public about personal health and raise money for a cure. April 16, 2016, Relay For Life of Auburn University was held by hard working students and partners. Among them was Ms. Parks.
 
Age: 21, junior
 
Major: Nursing
 
What is Relay for Life?
Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. It is a day for a  community to come together and celebrate cancer survivors, remember those who they have lost, and fight back against this awful disease. Every year there are thousands of Relay For Life events held throughout the country where millions of participants join in the fight against cancer. Relay has even gained traction worldwide, making it the largest cancer-related fundraiser of its kind. 
 
What is your position on the Relay for Life team? 
I currently serve on the 2015-2016 Executive Board as the Executive of Administration. I am in charge of all administrative work such as booking venues and keeping committee attendance, as well overseeing accounting and the directors of advocacy. I attend a weekly exec meeting and a weekly committee meeting, in addition to other random events and small meetings that might pop up.
 
Why is this cause dear to your heart?
Relay For Life is dear to my heart, because my family has been deeply affected by cancer. My dad survived colon cancer, my grandfather survived both prostate cancer and melanoma, my aunt survived Stage IV breast cancer, and my uncle unfortunately lost his battle with lung cancer. I also have many family friends who have been affected by the disease. Each case is different, and each case is devastating. Through all my experience as a caregiver, I have learned that cancer does not care whether you are a life-long smoker or taking every preventative measure possible. If it wants to appear, it will appear. And due to my extensive family history, it is likely I will face my own battle one day. I can’t afford to ignore cancer. So until there’s a cure, I will never stop trying to finish the fight.
 
Whats the best part of a volunteer event?
My favorite part of a volunteer event like Relay is when I start to see things coming together. You might have planned an event for months, but it doesn’t seem real until the equipment is set up and participants start arriving. It’s a powerful image to see so many people come together for one amazing cause. When you see all those people donating and participating, you realize that you’re truly making a difference in the world.
 
How can people get involved in planning and volunteering?
On campus, AUInvolve and O-days are great resources. There are so many volunteer organizations at Auburn, and all of them do amazing work! Find a cause you’re passionate about and don’t be afraid to jump in head first. If you’re interested in Relay For Life specifically, committee applications come out on AUInvolve every fall around late August. You can also visit relayforlife.org/auburn to donate or become a participant for future events.