Relay for Life hits close to home for some Virginia Tech students

Local News

On Friday, Organizers are expecting 7,000 participants on the Drill Field at Virginia Tech for the annual Relay for Life.  But for Annabelle Chang, this event hits close to home.

For the Virginia Tech senior, hard work goes beyond the classroom. A student executive on the American Cancer Society’s, Relay For Life board, Chang makes it her mission to help others in the fight against cancer. 

“It definitely brings a lot of people together, everyone’s experienced cancer in a different way”. 

Friday, she and about 26 Virginia Tech students will host what’s become the largest collegiate race in the country.

They’re bringing the Hokie community together with a message to her peers that they are not alone. 

 “Wether people are giving each other a pat on the back or hugging each other in those more thoughtful moments it definitely even if their strangers or friends it means a lot”.

Chang’s motivation comes from the memory of a hero. Her mother who passed away in 2001.

“I want to make sure that I’m doing everything in honor of her and making sure that she’s looking down on me and is shaking her head that she’s proud of what I’m doing,” said Chang.

Every semester, she keeps that promise through her work with the American Cancer Society. While coming together for a walk or run is one goal of relay for life, Chang says Donations are just as important for patients.  They provide transportation to and from treatments, free lodging for patients traveling out of town for treatments and even free wigs to instill confidence.

“My mom had the same thing happen to her and you know we weren’t able to take advantage of those programs and alot of times I wish we had”.

Chang says this years Relay for Life won’t disappoint.

“It’s going to be a lot of great live music, wether it’s a dj bopping around or wether it’s a nice country folks song”.

Even if you aren’t interested in lacing up running shoes, staffers say there is a need for donations. For ways to sign up, donate or volunteer, visit,

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