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Photo caption: Paige Tanaka (l) and Alicia Bravo coordinate the Apr. 12 Mini-Relay for Life at RMC

Mini-Relay for LifeStudents with experience of cancer lead Mini-Relay for Life at RMC

BILLINGS, March 14, 2014 – Two freshmen look to bring the community together for the first RMC Mini-Relay for Life Saturday, April 12, from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m. on campus. Both have experienced the effects of cancer on their families.

Paige Tanaka (’17) of Murrieta, Cali., calls her mom her biggest hero. Her mother survived three types of cancer; when Tanaka was four, her mom came home and “had to tell me and my sisters goodbye because the doctors didn't think she would survive.”

Alicia Bravo (’17) of Avondale, Ariz., lost her beloved grandma to lung cancer in 2007. “Since my nana passed away, I have learned to be thankful of the beautiful days I live and also to remember her beloved legacy. My nana was truly a strong and courageous woman. Her strong will drives my support of Relay for Life.”

Participants walk in a continuing relay of laps around campus to honor those they care about diagnosed with cancer. 2014 is the first year for RMC to host not only a student team, but a Relay for Life event on campus.

“I honestly dream that students come together and show support at our Mini-Relay for Life event,” Bravo said. “Although our team has an ultimate goal of raising $5,000, Relay for Life is also meant to celebrate and remember those who survived, those who lost the battle, and those who were simply a shoulder to cry on. I feel as though if we raise $10 or $10,000, there is no losing; we fought. That is really all that matters.”

About 13 million Americans have diagnosed invasive cancers. Globally, more than twice as many people die from cancer as from AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. About 4 million people will participate in more than 5,000 Relays for Life in 2014, sponsored by the American Cancer Society as part of the largest fundraising event in the nation. The Relay for Life of Yellowstone County will be July 11, when RMC students are away, so the freshmen have created an RMC Mini-Relay.  

Tanaka said, “RMC has provided me with opportunities that I have never had the chance to do.”

“I appreciate being able to work closer with the community surrounding me through Relay for Life and Habitat for Humanity. These opportunities have helped me grow exceptionally through my first year by getting me out of my comfort zone,” Tanaka said. “They have helped me realize that there are so many things bigger than myself in this world, and that we have to work hard to make a difference.”

Bravo said, “It can be hard to jump into the world of college, especially when you are far away from home. But with outstanding help from amazing faculty advisors, the SAS department, my family, and my new friends, I have become comfortable with RMC to show my pride and yearning to make a difference in the world.”

Almost every RMC student completes an internship in their major field; biology major Tanaka says, “I would like to get an internship at a local cancer research center so that I can learn more about oncology.”