Heather Duncan: Meet the Co-Executive Director of Relay for Life

Name: Heather Duncan

Year: Senior

Hometown: Orange Park, Jacksonville, FL

Age: 21

Major: Economics and International Affairs


HerCampus (HC): How did you become involved in Relay?

Heather Duncan (HD): Throughout high school, I became involved in Relay because all my friends were involved. I really only did it because all my friends were doing it but then my grandmother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She passed away before my senior year. This made me feel connected to the cause, and then when I started Florida State, I knew I wanted to become more involved with Relay. I was actually on the club bowling team and was a part of that team during my first Relay freshman year. One of the directors reached out and encouraged me to be in the Luminaria Ceremony for my grandmother. This inspired me to become a celebration leader my sophomore year which led to me joining executive board junior year as the logistics chair and marketing director and now as a senior, I am the co-executive director.

HC: What is it like working with another director?

HD: I love it! My co-executive director’s name is Brooke. She and I met through Relay last year. She was the finance director. Brooke and I have a really good dynamic because we play good cop, bad cop. I’m the good cop, and she’s the bad cop. We can joke around, bounce ideas off each other, and build off each other as well as the rest of our board. Our executive board this year is all women which has been a great experience because it revolves around girl power and supporting each other. 


Courtesy: Heather Duncan


HC: What are your goals for Relay for FSU?

HD: FSU Relay is the third largest in the nation. This year our top goal is to move to first or second. We also want to prioritize the mission of Relay and connect everyone to how it all began in 1985. We want more of campus to become involved and understand what the American Cancer Society really does for everyone. And we would love to fundraise more, of course!  

HC: What are you looking forward to most this year?

HD: I’m looking forward to Kickoff the most in October, but the actual Relay event is hands down my favorite day of the year.

HC: How do you balance your life with your commitment to Relay?

HD: Relay is honestly my top priority. I have to remind myself that I have to take a step back and take care of myself because I can’t do everything. Relay has surprisingly become my escape and way to relax. If I’m having a bad day, doing little tasks for Relay makes me feel better and grounds me. It reminds me what’s important and why I am doing what I do.

HC: How has Relay influenced who you are?

HD: Relay helped me become a leader and bring me to what I care about most which is helping others no matter what it is or what it takes. I do not want anyone to experience the milestones of life without their loved ones by their side. I never want anyone to lose a loved one to cancer and see what they can’t do without them. 


Courtesy: Heather Duncan

HC: What do you want people who are thinking about joining Relay to know?

HD: I want people to know that Relay welcomes everyone no matter your connection to cancer. You don’t have to have an immediate connection. We Relay because we all care about each other and because we are a family. I joined because I felt love and inclusion immediately. We all honor those who are lost and support those who are still fighting together.

HC: What are your plans for the future? Will Relay be involved?

HD: I’m currently looking at graduate programs overseas in London and Prague to get a graduate degree in economics. I want to participate in a global event for Relay while overseas. No matter what I do or where I live, I will always be involved in Relay. After my graduate degree, I’m planning on going to law school. My goal is to be a lobbyist for the American Cancer Society.