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PROFILE: Relay For Life Becomes A Family Affair For This UC Student

The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life at UC takes place April 30-May 1 on McMicken Commons. UC sophomore and Relay volunteer Jessica Pauley will be cheering for her father as he walks in the survivors’ victory lap in the opening ceremony.

Date: 4/19/2004 8:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Andrew Higley
UC ingot “My dad was diagnosed with cancer last year, and I decided right then that I had to do something.”

Jessica Pauley

Jessica Pauley of Chillicothe was getting ready to graduate from Huntington High School and had already earned a year-level of college credit when she got the news that her father, Chris Pauley, had lymphoma. It was news that was hauntingly familiar. “His mother died of colorectal cancer during his senior year in high school. Then, he was diagnosed with cancer during my senior year in high school,” Jessica says. “I remember I was performing in theater as part of a Post Secondary Enrollment Options Program at Ohio University, and my dad came to opening night, just two days after his chemotherapy treatment.”

Jessica says her father became the third person in Ohio to take part in a trial regimen to treat the lymphoma. By the time Jessica started at UC last fall, her father had been cancer-free for about a month.

As the international affairs/pre-law major explored campus activities outside the classroom, Jessica says she noticed that the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life was listed on the Web site of the UC Center for Community Engagement. She joined the UC planning committee and has since been designing fliers and postcards, plus handling the calls of potential volunteers for the Relay coming up April 30-May 1 on McMicken Commons.

Jessica Pauley on the job as a UC tour guide
Jessia Pauley on the job as a UC tour guide.

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s largest fund-raiser, supporting research, education, advocacy and service. Since 1946, the American Cancer Society has spent more than $2.5 billion on research alone. The American Cancer society reports that Relay for Life is the number one fund-raiser nationwide, with 24 events taking place in southwest Ohio alone.

Relay For Life is an overnight team event that brings the community together to support the battle against cancer. It’s also a time to honor loved ones who died of the disease, and a time to celebrate with the survivors, like Jessica’s dad, who will be walking the victory lap in the opening ceremony. Jessica’s mother, Ronda, is also on the family team along with Jessica’s brother, Josh Oyer, and his two children, Lasci and Madison. Their team, the “Chillicothe Chili Peppers,” will also include an uncle, close friends of Jessica’s father, and her boyfriend, Alfredo Aspra.

Photo submitted by the Pauleys: Chris, Jessica and Ronda Pauley

“I’m realizing that a lot of people really care,” Jessica says. “And, I think Relay For Life really brings the community together.” She adds that she also grew closer to her father through his own experience in battling cancer. “The experience has helped us understand each other better. He seems to value life so much more. I think the Relay is going to be an emotional event for all of us.”

The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life at UC begins at 6 p.m. Friday, April 30 and runs through noon Saturday, May 1, on McMicken Commons.

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