Relay For Life Holds Special Meaning for UC Student Volunteer
On April 27, Tricia Monnin joins a special overnight event at UC to raise money to fight cancer, a battle that first struck Tricia when she was just nine years old.
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Lisa Ventre
UC freshman Tricia Monnin is looking ahead to the bands, the costumes and a midnight pancake dinner at an overnight event on McMicken Commons April 27-28. It’s going to be a long night of fun with fellow teammates from the College of Allied Health Sciences with a very serious goal in mind. The fifth-annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life at the University of Cincinnati aims to raise $80,000 for research and education to detect, treat and prevent cancer.
Relay For Life consists of teams of eight to 15 people who raise money for the Relay and take turns walking around a pathway that will be set up McMicken Commons during the full 18 hours of the event. Volunteers are recruited through the UC Center for Community Engagement. It’s a time for participants to celebrate those who’ve won the battle against cancer,to remember friends and loved ones lost to the disease and to support and encourage those who are in the midst of the cancer battle.
It’s a battle 19-year-old Tricia, a communication sciences and disorders major and graduate of Versailles High School in Versailles, Ohio, experienced when she was first diagnosed at nine years old, suffering from headaches and violent seizures. She says she was diagnosed with pilocytic astrocytoma, an extremely rare cancer of the nervous system, and was forced to undergo surgery and chemotherapy.
The treatment kept her in remission for five years, but she says she was forced to undergo surgery again in eighth grade. Since her last surgery, she says she remains in remission, free of headaches and seizures, but the disease remains in her nervous system. Instead of traveling to the beach over spring break, Tricia traveled home to get MRIs and other routine procedures. She needs to monitor her health with annual checkups.
Her health is one thing she does not take for granted. While many college freshmen might go through a slight weight gain as they adjust to choosing their own meals, Tricia is a self-confessed “health freak. My mom will vouch for that, I try not to eat junk food and I don’t drink pop. My mom didn’t get me any Easter candy, because she knew I wouldn’t eat it. Plus, I like to go to the Rec Center and I run a lot,” says the former high-school cross-country track athlete.
Tricia says she feels everyone has known or lost someone affected by cancer, and that Relay For Life is one way to take action. “With each penny raised, we get closer to finding out what to do to beat cancer.”
Peter Osborne, Southwest Ohio Public Relations Director for the American Cancer Society, says in 2006, Ohio volunteers for the American Cancer Society raised more than $15.9 million to fight cancer through 206 Relay For Life events around the state. In 2007, more than $17 million is expected to be raised in about 217 Ohio Relay events.
Ryan Vose, a fourth-year UC electrical engineering student and co-chair of the UC Relay For Life, says more than 100 teams are turning out for the April 27 event on McMicken Commons and that $40,000 had already been raised by mid-April. “This year’s shaping up to be one of the most fun relays yet,” he says. “In addition to the classic entertainment like the Mr. and Mrs. Relay Pageant, we have three live bands this year, demonstrations from the UC Martial Arts Club and a game of ‘The Price is Right.’ This year’s theme is ‘High School Cliques,’ so we should see a fun assortment of dressed-up teams throughout the night.”
“We’re still deciding whether we want to dress up like the band geeks or the plastics,” Tricia says.
UC’s Relay For Life begins at 5:45 p.m., Friday, April 27, on McMicken Commons and runs through noon, Saturday, April 28. UC faculty, staff, students and members of the Cincinnati USA community can support the UC Relay For Life by making a donation. Information on making donations is featured on the UC Relay For Life Web site, which will be taking donations through Aug. 31.