WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Thousands of students at Winona State University pulled an all-nighter on Friday for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in McCown gym. It's one of the largest events on campus all year.
Together, cancer survivors celebrated with their caretakers, community and Winona State students. The survivors opened the relay by walking the track students circled all night.
"It brought tears to my eyes but also, proud to be a survivor," said Lisa Schnepper, a cancer survivor. Schnepper teaches nursing for the University and was diagnosed in January with breast cancer.
"The kind of cancer I have, 15 years ago was a death sentence and because of the research that's gone on it now has a tremendously high survival rate," said Schnepper. "Without that research, in 5 years, I wouldn't be here."
Students raised money all night in various ways, like donating to put their friends in a make-shift jail. "He really deserves to be in there," said Sophomore Simon Williams as he pointed to a friend he paid to be "thrown in jail." Now, when students call home and say they've been "bailed out of jail" they can make mom and dad proud by saying it's for a good cause.
"It really brings up the hopes of everybody who may have cancer, if they're feeling down about it or something," said Williams.
Winona's Relay is one of thousands of walks scheduled this year in countries around the globe.
"It's a way that community members and Winona State students can get together and work together to make a difference in our world," said Elizabeth Brunner, Co-President of Winona State University Colleges Against Cancer Club who organized the event.
The event is open to the public. Teams sponsored on-site fundraiser's, activities, entertainment and silent auction. Organizers said more than $35,000 was raised by kick-off on Friday. All the proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society to support caregivers and survivors find a cure.
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