By Matt Olson
She is a member of the cross-country and track teams, a freshman Scholar, and a three-time cancer survivor. Kaitlyn Suarez ‘15 seems to do it all.
Suarez had never taken part in a Relay for Life fundraiser before this year at Union, simply because the downstate New York area did not offer many of them.
“When I was sick, a lot of the fundraisers took place through my school, but my dad’s work also got involved sometimes. Cancer affects so many people, it’s important that we get the word out about it and its effects on people and their families.”
For Suarez, she said it made her family realize that every moment was precious. Whether it was eating together as a family or going on vacations, they make every minute count. Being with her family, she says, is the greatest post-cancer experience for her.
One problem that Suarez and I shared about cancer awareness is that some, if not most, people think cancer will not affect them.
Suarez believes showing people real stories of those affected by cancer would convince them of the severity of cancer, and raise awareness everywhere.
For Relay for Life this year, Suarez and other students have helped organize, alongside Colleges Against Cancer, to make the event the best it could possibly be.
One ceremony at Relay this year was a glow stick ceremony, where a person would crack a glow stick if they or anyone they knew had been diagnosed.
Suarez thinks that even organizing the event is an extraordinary opportunity for her.
“It’s incredible that people like me are in a position to give back to those that are struggling right now.”
Suarez did admit that if she had not been affected by cancer she would not have been as likely to become involved with the awareness of the disease.
But now that she has been affected, she looks to make everyone aware of the effects of the disease, not just on the patient, but the family as well.
In short, Kaitlyn Suarez is just looking to make everyday “a little bit brighter.”