Maria Schmidt & Relay for Life

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Nursing & Professional Disciplines


Maria Schmidt, a third semester nursing student, discusses Relay For Life and her role in the event.

How did you get involved with Relay for Life?

I got involved with the Grand Forks County Relay for Life through the UND Relay for Life. I was meeting our American Cancer Society rep at the Grand Forks County Relay for Life kick-off event to pick up some materials. When I arrived at the meeting, she asked if I would be willing to stand up and tell my story because they did not have a survivor to speak at the event.

-How were you selected as the honorary chairperson for the event?

After the kick-off event, I got a call from the American Cancer Society rep who had been contacted by the committee members to get in touch with me. I was told they were impressed by my story and wanted me to be the honorary chairperson this year.

-When and where will the Relay for Life be held?

There are actually 2 Relay for Life events in Grand Forks. The UND Relay for Life is April 25 from 6 PM – 6 AM at the Hyslop Sports Center. The Grand Forks County Relay for Life is June 6 from 2 PM – 2 AM at University Park.

-Have you been a participant in previous years?

I have not participated in Relay for Life in the past. Last year I went to the survivor's dinner, but it was the day of my second chemotherapy appointment and I was too exhausted and in too much pain to stay much longer than that. I have been interested in it, but I never knew how easy it was to get involved.

-How do you encourage those around you to participate in the event?

Most people know someone close to them who has had cancer. Proceeds from Relay for Life benefits those people. It helps pay for cancer research, but it also helps pay for programs that cover travel expenses such as fuel and lodging for people that live far away from their cancer treatment centers. It pays for programs such as Look Good, Feel Better which teaches skin care and make-up tips for skin that is affected by chemotherapy and radiation. It also teaches different ways to tie scarves and scalp and hair tips for hair loss.

-Why is this event so important to you?

In addition to me being diagnosed with cancer almost a year ago, I have had many close friends and family members that are fighting cancer now, have beat cancer, or have lost the battle to cancer. It is a way to celebrate the lives of people affected by cancer.

Any additional information about Relay for Life, your role in the event, or other information you would like to share?

Come out and support one or both of the Relay for Life events in the community. If you're not around in the summer, there is still time to register a team for the UND Relay for Life. I am on the UND Relay for Life committee and will be speaking during the Luminaria ceremony there. At the Grand Forks County Relay for Life, I will be speaking, but I'm not sure when. I think that is during the Opening Ceremony before the Survivor Lap.

I want to thank the faculty and students of the College of Nursing for helping me keep one part of my life normal during the last year. It made everything else going on in my life seem not so bad knowing that I could continue going to school and spend time with people who cared what was going on. All the support I received from my classmates, now in 4th semester, means more to me than they know. I appreciate everything that the staff and faculty in the undergraduate program have done to allow me to continue going to school so that one part of my life stayed sane, or as sane as possible when going to nursing school.

For more information on Relay for Life, please visit From there you can enter your zip code to find an event and choose which Relay you want to register for.