Lauren Conn – Greater Media Detroit
October 16, 2014
2005 will be a year that Greater Media Detroit’s Lauren Conn will never forget. It’s the year her mother, Margie, was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy.
Little did they know that in less than 10 years, they would be the forces behind beginning an event that would raise more than $1 million to fight and find a cure for cancer.
Shortly after, the American Cancer Society contacted them to see if they would be interested in launching a Relay for Life event in their hometown of Shelby Township. Fueled by passion to celebrate survivors, to remember those who lost their battles and to fight for a cure, Lauren and her mom got to work. Joined by many volunteers, each year the event grew.
Relay for Life events usually take place at a track or path. Teams camp out for the 24-hour walk/run event. One member from each team must be on the course at all times during the event.
Lauren explained that one of the ways they make their relay fun is having a new theme each year. Past themes have included NASCAR, country western, Hawaiian and holidays; this year they’ve chosen Rockin’ Out Cancer.
All teams focus on fundraising before and during the event. Lauren and her mom have sold scarves, handmade gift boxes, flowers and hand-scooped ice cream and held pizza dinners. During the event there is also a silent auction that brings in a lot of money.
Lauren said one of the most memorable aspects of the Relay for Life is the luminaria ceremony. “I’ve had the honor to emcee the luminaria ceremony each year. The track is lined with hundreds of bags with candles inside. It’s our chance to remember those who are no longer with us and honor those who have and still fight cancer. When I get to the part in my speech about my mom … it’s so emotional and beautiful.”
Since beginning the Shelby Township Relay for Life almost 10 years ago, Lauren is thrilled with the way the community has joined together to support the event. Lauren shared that “one of our high school drum lines leads off our Survivor Walk and businesses are always stepping up to help out. John’s Lumber stepped up this year to take care of lunch for all the survivors; a local massage school offers free massages to survivors; and hundreds of people donate items for the silent auction.”
When asked what the future holds for the event, Lauren replied, “We’ll continue to work toward a cure, and until that day we’d like to see the Shelby Township Relay for Life become a $5 million to $10 million relay.”
We at Greater Media Detroit are proud of Lauren and her mom for their hard work and passion for finding a cure for cancer and their continued efforts with the Shelby Township Relay for Life. Lauren truly is someone who is making Greater Media great.