RPI students are walking through the night, Friday until Saturday morning, for the Seventh Annual Relay for Life, raising money for cancer research and awareness.
During this same event two years ago, RPI student Adam Lamson was undergoing chemotherapy.
Friday, he joined the team that his friends started for him while he was in the hospital.
“It is good to be here and just knowing that I can walk around the track is great,” he said.
Two years ago, Lamson didn't know if he'd ever be back to RPI.
Just weeks into his freshman year he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
“I said, 'No, tell me something different,'” Lamson said about the day doctors handed him the devastating diagnosis. “The first thing that rushed through my mind is, ‘Oh my God, I am not going to be able to go to college anymore.’ I had dreamed of that for so long.”
His life was turned upside down.
He left campus for a full year to have chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and then surgery.
“Being away from friends and being away from where I thought I was meant to be was very difficult, but I am back,” Lamson said.
Friday, Lamson walked with survivors and with hundreds of other RPI students and community members, everyone with their own story.
“My uncle actually died a year ago on the night of Relay for Life,” said RPI Senior Amanda Labuza.
She will honor her uncle, and also her grandmother who died of Leukemia.
“It's a way to empower yourself and feel like you are not just helpless against this disease,” Labuza said.
These students are playing a huge part in the fight for a cure.
RPI has raised about $700,000 over the past seven years for the American Cancer Society.
“You can’t imagine the impact this has on other people, the fact that you're doing this for someone else, even if it helps one person you feel like that is so strong and impactful,” said RPI Junior and event chairperson Brian Nock.
The event committee chose this year’s Olympic theme as a way to “torch a light for more birthdays.”
“There’s a way to fight back, there's a way to find hope for a better future,” Labuza said.
And as for Lamson, after he's finished walking at Saturday, he will spend next week celebrating a milestone: his 21st birthday.
“I didn't think I was going to make it, I am so glad I did,” Adam said with a smile.
The students hope to raise more than $110,000, and donations are accepted through August.
To donate, CLICK HERE.