The University of North Carolina Wilmington may soon be among thousands of venues in more than 20 countries to host a Relay for Life fundraiser. The 24-hour events involve teams that camp out overnight and take turns walking or running around a track to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.
UNCW softball standout Lauren Moore co-founded the university’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer, an organization that works to increase cancer awareness and host benefit events to fund cancer research. Moore’s goal is to bring a Relay for Live event to UNCW within the next two years. She is also organizing a movement to put purple ribbons on trees and other places on UNCW’s campus to raise awareness for various forms of cancer.
Moore’s campaign against cancer began in 2010 after she lost her mother, Susan Moore, to breast cancer. Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002. Shortly after receiving treatment, she was cancer free for six years, until a cancerous mass was discovered in her liver in 2008. By 2010, the cancer spread to her brain.
Later that year, Moore organized a volleyball tournament at her high school, The Oakwood School, in Greenville, North Carolina, to raise funds for the hospice chapter that supported her mother during her final weeks of life.
“Hospice kept in touch with us a year after she passed,” Moore said. “They wrote us letters on how to cope with grief, and how to be positive and thankful during the process of grieving.”
Moore’s tournament became an annual school event. By 2013, the games had raised $30,000.
“They still host the tournament every year to raise money for hospice, even though I’m not at the school anymore,” Moore said.
After Moore enrolled at UNCW in the fall of 2013, she began organizing a volleyball tournament at Capt’n Bills Backyard Grill, which took place in October 2014.
This year, Moore’s tournament at Capt’n Bills raised $757. On Saturday, Oct. 17, eight teams of four people participated, an increase over last year’s six teams. The proceeds benefited New Hanover Regional Medical Center Foundation’s Pink Ribbon Project, an organization that has helped thousands of local women, many of whom don’t have medical insurance, by providing mammography screenings and emotional support.
Moore has already started planning next year’s tournament.
“I’ll meet with Capt’n Bills in January to set a date,” she said.
Moore hopes to register at least 10 teams in next year’s tournament. Participation cost is $100 per team. Each competitor receives a T-shirt, a bracelet and a pen.
Organizing volleyball tournaments and founding a student organization at UNCW have not been easy feats for Moore. As an infielder with the university’s softball team and a junior with a 3.91 GPA, her spare time is limited.
“She has a lot of irons in the fire,” said Joe Browning, UNCW’s athletic communications director.
Moore plans to put her biology degree to use after she graduates by attending medical school to become an orthopedic surgeon. Her first-choice med school is the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.