SALISBURY, MD---Salisbury University student Ali Horkey was 16 when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She was treated in Germany, where her family lived at the time.
Now a senior management major, with family in Waldorf, MD, Horkey has been raising money for the society through SU’s Relay For Life for the past four years. At the Friday, April 29, event she is spearheading survivor activities and a team.
“I Relay because I am survivor,” she said. “I Relay because I do not want anyone else to hear the words, ‘You have cancer.’” Her battle changed the way she views life: “You can’t take anything for granted.”
Horkey hopes the SU Relay will inform students, faculty and staff about decreasing their cancer risks.
Senior Marshall Boyd, this year’s co-chair, got involved with the SU Relay after losing an aunt to cancer. Shortly after, he witnessed his mother’s diagnosis.
“I am determined more than ever to top our fundraising goals this year, not just for my mom and aunt, but for everyone who has to deal with this horrible disease,” said the biology major from Odenton, MD.
Horkey and Boyd are joined on the planning committee by freshman Casey Gaul, an English as a second language and secondary education major. She’s helping with “spirit” for the event. The Williamsburg, VA, native started her first Relay team after a cheerleader and a band member at her high school both died from the bone cancer Ewing sarcoma.
“Cancer impacts everyone—patients, caregivers, family, friends and community,” she said. “I Relay so one day there will be a cure! I hope students try to raise as much money as possible for cancer research.”
Since 2002, the SU Relay has raised more than $700,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Opening ceremonies for the 2011 event begin at 6 p.m. at the SU Intramural Fields. Immediately following, cancer survivors from campus and the community are invited to participate in a special lap and reception. As the sun sets, luminaria bags will be illuminated, bearing names of those who have battled cancer.
For more information, visit www.relayforlife.org/su.