Survivors, supporters pack the PAC to fight cancer

Jessie Hellmann

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Cancer survivor Jessiy Rosenbarger spoke to the crowd at the Physical Activities Center on Saturday alongside several cancer survivors in the community at the kickoff of the USI/University of Evansville Relay for Life.

Rosenbarger, survivorship chair for Relay for Life, was 21 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I have never been so scared in my life. I was a junior in college. Cancer was not on my agenda.”

“I had a tumor the size of a grapefruit, and it was painful every single day,” Rosenbarger said.

The fundraising event for the American Cancer Society recognized cancer survivors and honored the memory of those who lost their lives to the disease.

Sororities, fraternities and other clubs from both universities came together to form 46 teams. They collectively raised a total of $35,000 surpassing last year’s total of $30,000.

At the relay, team members take turns walking or running around the gymnasium in the PAC, and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times.

UE organizer for the event, Rachel Tarantino, has participated in relays for 10 years now.

“I’m a cancer survivor, and my mom is a cancer survivor, and it’s always something I’ve been real passionate about,” she said.

Tarantino’s favorite part about the event was the energy of college students coming together for the same cause.

Shannon Dick, an exercise science and physical therapy major at the University of Evansville,  organized a team with friends in support of their friend, Clare Scheller, who is battling leukemia.

“She got cancer this past summer, so, we’re doing this in honor of her. And my uncle had cancer. It’s just a great cause,” Dick said.

Sleeping bags, blankets and tents decorated the balcony of the PAC as students set up camp for the night.

Posters surrounded them with sayings like, “Be a hero, honor a hero, fight for a hero.”

“(We’re here) for the people that we know in our lives and for the people that have been touched because of cancer,” Rosenbarger said.

“One day, I know for sure there will be a day without cancer and I hope that day is during my lifetime.”