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´╗┐Relay For Life on track to raise record donations

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 11, 2013 Just days away from the worlds largest collegiate Relay For Life, and Virginia Techs Drillfield is ready for a massive influx of tents, food, entertainment, and people. The allnight event raises awareness and funds for the fight against cancer.

The Relay For Life event is the capstone of a yearlong effort to contribute to the American Cancer Society. Throughout the year, Relay For Life at Virginia Tech has been raising awareness, holding fundraisers, encouraging participation, and planning the culminating experience.

People think of the event as a onetime thing, but its really 365 days of fundraising, said Bryan Wynkoop of Leesburg, Va., a senior majoring in marketing management in the Pamplin College of Business. The event is a celebration of a yearlong effort.

Wynkoop is codirector of Relay For Life at Virginia Tech with Emily Tanner of Eldersrburg, Md., a senior majoring in dairy science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

It is a big undertaking. There are 23 students on the Relay for Life executive leadership team and countless others who volunteer their time and talent. Most have personal reasons for joining in the fight against cancer.

Wynkoop has been involved in Relay For Life since his sophomore year in high school. I had always done it to help someone else. Then my father was diagnosed with cancer and I lost my grandmother to it, he said. Everyone is affected by cancer. Everyone is connected. Were all in it together.

Even the HokieBird is supporting the effort. This year, the university mascot formed its own team for the event, and participated in fundraising by posing for photos on Valentines Day and going on the block for the annual date auction.

Social media has been crucial this year in spreading the word and encouraging participation. Relay For Life at Virginia Tech has lively posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Local business sponsors have also played a part in promoting participation, through their online presence and instore specials.

The Pamplin Reinventing Social Media PRISM student group will keep up with social media throughout the event, with a tent and computers on the Drillfield in the middle of the action.

Since it began in 2001, Virginia Techs Relay For Life has won American Cancer Society awards and broken records, in both numbers of participants and donations. Wynkoop said strong directors in past years have laid the foundation for success, and Relay For Life has become a Hokie Nation tradition.

This is what the university community turns to in late April. There is a synergy with Relay For Life, the Big Event, and the Day of Remembrance, he said. Student involvement, faculty backing, and administration support differentiates Virginia Tech. The Hokie community is in the fight together.

Members of the university community and the general public are encouraged to participate. This years Relay For Life event coincides with Spring Family Weekend, April 1921. Visiting families are welcome to donate, participate, or sign up as a team.

Dedicated to its motto, Ut Prosim That I May Serve, Virginia Tech takes a handson, engaging approach to education, preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. As the commonwealths most comprehensive university and its leading research institution, Virginia Tech offers 215 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 30,000 students and manages a research portfolio of $450 million. The university fulfills its landgrant mission of transforming knowledge to practice through technological leadership and by fueling economic growth and job creation locally, regionally, and across Virginia.