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Oct. 26, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C. – University of South Carolina women’s basketball head coach Dawn Staley closed the American Cancer Society Collegiate Leadership Conference held on campus Sunday with a message to help inspire the students in attendance to continue participating in the fight against cancer. The conference brought the Relay for Life campus coordinators from universities in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia together to discuss the most effective ways to promote, organize and fundraise for their schools’ events.

“It’s great to see so many young people so passionately involved in doing whatever they can to fight a disease that has touched so many people,” Staley said.

Staley was the final speaker of the day and took cues from her personal story to encourage the student leaders to continue in their often difficult efforts. She explained how finding something to be passionate about can be the vehicle used to change a life or overcome an obstacle, much like basketball helped her focus on achieving goals instead of being stymied by the challenges of her life.

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is an event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease. At Relay, teams of people camp out a local high school, park or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length. Since its inception in 1985, Relay has grown into the world’s largest movement to end the disease. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States, along with additional communities in 20 other countries, gather to take part in the global phenomenon and raise funds and awareness to save lives from cancer.