COLUMBIA — Jackie McKee was affected by cancer at age 5, when her kindergarten teacher left in the middle of the year and never returned.
McKee later found out her teacher passed away from cancer.
What: Columbia College's Relay for Life Silent Auction
When: Wednesday, April 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: Dorsey Gym, Dorsey Hall in Columbia College at 1007 Rogers Street
When McKee, a compliance specialist with the division of Adult Higher Education, joined Columbia College two years ago, she also joined its Relay for Life team.
The team will hold its annual silent auction on Wednesday to benefit the American Cancer Society, according to a news release.
Later on in her life, McKee's grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer and lung cancer, and McKee's mother was also diagnosed with malignant melanoma.
They both survived and are doing well she said.
McKee also witnessed her high school friend's fight against a brain tumor. Her friend recovered after treatment and two bone marrow transplants.
After so many encounters with cancer, McKee believes she and the team do more than just raising money.
"I want to raise not only money, but also awareness," she said.
There are close to 40 members on the team. They are survivors of cancer, people who are familiar with the disease or people who simply want to help, said Stephanie Johnson, the associate director of admission at Columbia College and the Relay for Life team captain.
Johnson said the team received approximately $1,400 from the auction last year and is expecting to raise more money this year. The team hopes to have more than 100 participants and visitors at the auction, Johnson said.