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College News

Relay for Life Kicks off Friday, Members of Fisher Community to Share Stories


Relay for Life Kicks off Friday, Members of Fisher Community to Share Stories

Fisher student Ashley Bedard says her world changed “in an instant” right before she was about to move back to campus to start her sophomore year. After going to the hospital for what was supposed to be gall bladder surgery, she was diagnosed with leukemia. Bedard will share her story during this weekend’s Relay for Life Celebrate Ceremony, which is the opening ceremony that honors survivors.

“I went from an independent carefree teenager to feeling like my life was totally out of my hands. It was like all my friends were in fast forward and I was stuck on pause,” she said.

After receiving her diagnosis, Bedard was forced to take a medical leave for a year. And today, she is back at Fisher and is in remission, but says she continues to live with the side effects of treatment on a daily basis.

Nazareth student Morgan Bauer will be the featured speaker during the Luminaria Ceremony, a ceremony dedicated to those who have lost their battle to cancer.

When Bauer was eight years old, her mother, Betsy, was diagnosed with brain cancer. Over the next 12 years, her mother fought the disease with treatments and procedures. Sadly, she lost her battle in May 2012.

“My mom inspired everyone she met and taught everyone how to hope and love. Her life was too short, 53 years was not enough,” said Bauer.

Dr. Melissa Ghera, Assistant Professor of Psychology, will be one of the featured speakers during the Fight Back Ceremony. Ghera lost both of her parents to cancer, losing her father when she was in high school and her mother five years later. Her father was diagnosed when Ghera was just eight years old, and her mother was diagnosed six months after losing her husband. She also lost her maternal grandfather and paternal grandmother before she ever met them, and her half-brother and his wife have both battled cancer. Fortunately, her half-brother is in remission, but his wife is still in treatment.

“Cancer took my childhood, my adolescence, my college plans, and, as I was my mom's only child, it took my memory, my history — it colored the beginning of my story,” said Ghera.

Beginning at 6:00 p.m. tomorrow, St. John Fisher College’s student organization “Colleges Against Cancer” (CAC) will host the 12th Annual Relay for Life in the Student Life Center. The 12-hour event will run through 6:00 a.m., Saturday, April 6, and aims to celebrate, remember, and fight back for all those who have been affected by cancer.

To date, over 290 participants have registered and over $18,000.00 has been raised. One hundred percent of the proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society.

Members of the CAC committee and Relay participants will be tweeting throughout the event using #FisherRelay. The 2013 St. John Fisher College Relay for Life is being co-hosted by Nazareth College and the American Cancer Society. For more information about the Relay for Life, contact Amanda Cammarano or Dusty Baker, co-chairs, by emailing

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