Luminaria Ceremony Enhances Relay For Life Events

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment

A 2011 graduate of University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Sierra Shoopman has been involved with Relay For Life for the past 12 years. As an annual participant and fundraiser, Sierra Shoopman helps support Relay For Life’s mission of raising funds and awareness for cancer research.

At each local Relay For Life event, a luminaria ceremony is held at nightfall. Participants donate and dedicate luminaria bags in honor of loved ones who have been affected by cancer. Personalized to reflect the life it represents, each luminaria bag is embellished with a photograph, drawing, name, or message. Participants who wish to donate a luminaria bag can choose from a classic white bag, a gold bag, or a tribute torch. Luminaria bags, each containing one candle, are then placed around the track used for the Relay For Life event. When the group of luminarias is lit, participants are given a visual reminder of how many lives are affected by cancer, and of the importance of Relay For Life’s mission.


About the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life By Sierra Shoopman

January 25, 2013 Leave a comment

posted at All Rights ReservedRelay for Life follows in the footsteps of Dr. Gordy Klatt, who in 1985 ran for a full day in Tacoma, Washington, to raise more than $25,000 for the American Cancer Society. In the following year, hundreds of people inspired by Dr. Klatt’s initial effort turned his fundraiser into a tradition that spread across the globe, bringing in billions of dollars to support cancer research and prevention.

Since the organization’s founding, Relay for Life evolved new traditions to complement the old. Each event includes the Survivors Lap, in which cancer survivors walk to celebrate defeating the disease. After nightfall, volunteers light candles as part of the Luminaria Ceremony in remembrance of people who passed away as result of cancer. The Fight Back Ceremony reminds volunteers to take an active role in the battle against this all-too-common condition.

Interested parties can search for local Relay for Life events and sign up to volunteer at



A recent graduate of the University of Washington in Seattle, Sierra Shoopman participated in and raised money for Relay for Life for the last twelve years.

Sigma Alpha Lambda: Service, Achievement, Leadership

December 9, 2012 Leave a comment

Sierra Shoopman, a University of Washington alumna, was a member of the Sigma Alpha Lambda honor society while earning a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Committed to the same qualities upon which the organization is based, Sierra Shoopman continually strives to exemplify service, achievement, and leadership.

Sigma Alpha Lambda (SAL), a national leadership and honors organization, exists to promote academic excellence, engage its members and community in meaningful service, and promote leadership through service.

SAL offers its members opportunities that promote leadership through service throughout each academic year. Annually, SAL National coordinates two initiatives to connect members and chapters across the United States in a common goal as they partner with national service organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters. Chapter and individual service activities abound and are easy to facilitate through SAL’s relationships with many national service organizations. Additionally, members of the organization are encouraged to participate in chapter leadership roles.

To recognize academic excellence, SAL offers a variety of scholarships and awards. These include the Emerging Leader Post Graduate Scholarship, the Path to Excellence Award, and the National Academic Achievement Award. Each member of SAL receives a professionally designed membership certificate, a personalized press release, and, upon request, personalized letters of recommendation.

A Look at the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life by Sierra Shoopman

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment


Organized across the country, the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life endeavor is a team event for the entire community. A scheduled, overnight fundraising walk, Relay for Life features groups of people camping and walking around a track. Members of the team not engaged in the walk can enjoy entertainment, food, and games as they wait for their turn. Although each location has its own traditions, there are some key moments shared by all Relays for Life, such as the Survivors Lap, when cancer survivors walk the first lap.

The inaugural Relay for Life occurred in May 1985 as Dr. Gordy Klatt moved around a track for 24 hours straight. More than 340 people joined him the following year. Since then, Relay for Life has become a significant part of the American Cancer Society’s initiatives, and it has raised more than $4 billion over the past 27 years. To find a nearby gathering, log onto

About the Author:

Interested in a career in medicine, Sierra Shoopman earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Washington, shadowed optometrists and ophthalmologists, and served as an Office Assistant at Northwest Dental Consultants, Inc. For over a decade, Shoopman raised money for and participated in Relay for Life.

Sierra Shoopman Discusses the Stream Team

In 1990, the governments of several counties throughout Washington State started Stream Team to engage citizens in bettering their communities. Local creeks benefited from the support and hands-on improvements of townspeople who participated in basin planning projects. Today, Stream Teams remain committed to enhancing the region’s water resources and wildlife habitats.

Since its creation, Stream Teams have provided people with numerous opportunities to volunteer and explore nature. Youth, civic, and religious groups get to learn about the environment while experiencing it up close. The organization runs amphibian, shorebird, and macroinvertebrate monitoring programs throughout the year while allowing individuals to act as stewards for various species of fish. Over the past 22 years, its volunteers have completed more than 45,000 hours of service and identified over 5,000 storm drains.

About the Author:

A recent graduate of the University of Washington, Sierra Shoopman majored in biology and minored in chemistry. During her spare time, Shoopman beautified her community by participating with the Thurston County Stream Team, restored stream habitats, and marked storm water drains.