Student’s grandmother helps open McDaniel’s Relay for Life fundraiser

May 02, 2011

The crisp darkness of the night sparks as students light candles around the track for friends and family members who have been diagnosed with cancer. The bleachers shine with a series of candles forming the letters H.O.P.E.

The fight never stops. With a total of 366 participants divided into 21 teams, McDaniel College raised $23, 997 for the America Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life held at Bair Stadium. Gamma Sigma Sigma, a service sorority, led the fundraiser with $5,622, while the ladies of Phi Alpha Mu sorority raised $2,918. Local area Century High School followed close behind with a total of $2,345.

Nancy Peterson, a breast cancer survivor from Ocala, Fla., and grandmother to senior Kaitlyn Thomas, led the way in the traditional Survivor’s Lap, which opens the 24-hour battle of hope. For the past four years, Peterson has made an annual appearance to support Relay for Life as a proud representative of Thomas, who is president of Phi Alpha Mu.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer three years back and went through with radiation,” says Peterson, misty-eyed.  “Fortunately, I was diagnosed early.”

Peterson, along with Thomas’ mom and two aunts, brought out a good dose of girl power as they sported their pink sorority letter sweatshirts. An avid golfer, Peterson has also directed February Think Pink tournaments in The Villages, her active retirement community in Florida of 85,000 residents.

“Relay for Life gives me inspiration to continue doing good things on this campus and after college,” says Thomas. Nancy Peterson’s annual appearance at McDaniel College is a momentous inspiration to all to never give up.

By Katherine Restrepo ’12