Together We Can Create a World With More Birthdays

 

At first glance, sophomore Cassie Foxx looks and acts just like any other Fairfield University student but lets just say she is anything but ordinary. As she stands in line at Einstein Bros waiting for her morning coffee she eagerly checks her watch ready to run out the door to her next task. Little does anyone know Cassie is out the door and onto a number of meetings and responsibilities. You’ve seen her leading orientation groups, competing in intramural sports and participating in sophomore success programs. However, Cassie devotes a majority of her time to Fairfield’s Relay for Life. On Wednesday, February 5th Relay for Life had their annual kick-off. The on-campus club signed up over 80 participants and raised over $1000. Those who know Cassie are familiar with her burning desire to give back. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to sit down with her so the rest of us could learn just how big her heart really is! 

 

Her Campus: Could you give readers a little background information on what Relay For Life represents?

Cassie Foxx: Traditionally, Relay for Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.  It is a twelve-hour event, giving each participant a small glimpse into the daily struggle of a cancer patient.  Each participant fundraises as much money as they can prior to the event, and all proceeds go directly to the American Cancer Society.  We raise a lot of money at the event, too!

HC: What’s your involvement with Relay for Life?

CF: I am the Event Chair of Fairfield's Relay for Life. I am one of the four event chairs alongside Kyle Scherer, Brian Alexander, and Kyle Douglas.  We oversee all the committee members to successfully plan and execute both fundraising and the Relay for Life event.  We also oversee the people on the committee who have individual jobs crucial to the overall process.  For example, there is a Team Development Chair that is in charge of recruiting people and teams, the Luminary Chair who sells and coordinates the luminary bags, and the Entertainment Chair who puts together entertainment for the event.  As Event Chair, I have to make sure each committee member is doing his or her job.  I also help run the weekly meetings with the committee, as well as meet with our American Cancer Society staff partner to make sure the event is on the right track and is as successful as possible!

HC: What made you want to get involved with Relay for Life?

CF: I got involved with Relay for Life when I was a sophomore in high school. I personally wanted to get involved because cancer has affected my family in more ways than one.  My dad and three of my grandparents have all been personally affected by cancer. I know too many people who have been affected by this terrible disease both directly and indirectly. Why sit back and do nothing when I can take action with the hopes to help end this horrific disease?  I want to see a world where nobody has to deal with the pain of fighting or losing someone to cancer. 

HC: What is the environment like on the night of Relay for life?

CF: You cannot describe the Relay atmosphere unless you experience it first-hand because it is that special.  Over twelve hours, you experience such a wide range of emotions.  One moment you’re overjoyed for the survivor who has conquered his or her battle, and the next you’re heartbroken for the caregiver who has lost a loved one.  You’re exhausted because you’ve been awake longer than you can remember.  And during the entire event, you look around and know that everyone else is there for the same reason: we are all dedicated to creating a world with more birthdays.  After all, who doesn’t like birthdays?

HC: As you said, participants are often exhausted. Can you explain why the fundraiser runs from 6pm to 6am?

CF: Relay for Life represents the idea that “cancer never sleeps”.  The fundraiser gives you a brief look into the daily life of a person battling cancer.  As you start off at 6pm, you tell yourself “this isn’t so bad, I can do this!” You’re feeling good and you’re motivated. Next thing you know, it’s getting late and you’re exhausted. You’ve experienced so many different emotional highs and lows throughout the night and you feel like giving up. As 6am approaches, it feels like you get a second wind. You are in the final stage of the fundraiser and you’re pushing yourself through it. This resembles how a cancer patient feels every single day.  Exhausted, defeated, and the feeling of little hope.  But cancer patients don’t give up, so neither can we! 

HC: What has been your most rewarding experience since getting involved with Relay for Life?

CF: When dealing with Relay for Life, almost all experiences are incredibly rewarding.  However, the most rewarding experience for me wasn’t one defined moment.  Over the past three years, I have been the team captain of “Mission Possible.”  Cumulatively, my teams have raised $30,000.  It is unbelievable to know that our team efforts have raised money that can fund patient programs, cancer research, and early detection awareness.  This year, we hope to raise another $10,000! Last year was my first college relay and our goal for the entire event was $50,000. A half hour before the event ended, we were just short of our goal. We made one last lap around the track collecting money. At the end of the night we recounted our money and we had officially reached our goal, raising a record-breaking $50,300!  The feeling of accomplishment I felt at that point is a feeling that will not disappear any time soon.  I am confident that this year we can raise even more!

 

For information on how to get involved email Cassie Foxx at [email protected] or [email protected]