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Relay for Life Turns into Start of New Life with Marriage Proposal

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
May 12, 2010

As a senior, Jessica Keravich recently wrapped up her last stint as co-chairman of the UNH Relay for Life team. The 24-hour walkathon that raises money for the American Cancer Society is important to Keravich, who lost her mother to the disease when she was 12.

But there’s little chance she’ll forget her last Relay for Life as a UNH student; during this year’s event, Chris Forbes, her boyfriend of three years, proposed.

Keravich had just had her hair cut as part of Pantene Cut for a Cure that has people cutting their hair so it can be donated to make wigs for cancer patients. Keravich was supposed to be organizing the next donors when the DJ announcing the event called her over to his area. 

When she got there, he made another announcement about the haircuts and then told Keravich someone was looking for her. She turned around and in walked Forbes. And he had a microphone.

“He told me he would miss my long hair, but it was for a good cause, and that it looked great. He went on to say that he knows Relay is a very special day for me and that he wanted to make it that much more special,” Keravich said. “I started freaking out—crying, smiling. Then he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. I had no idea that it was coming.”

Nor did she know until she looked around that her father and sister and members of Forbes’ family where there watching.

“He made sure they were all there,” she said.

It turned out, Forbes had gone to her father before he bought the ring to ask his permission. A 2008 UNH graduate, Forbes served in National Guard for six years and spent a year in Iraq.

“I wanted the proposal to be a day she would never forget and I figured if I did it in front of hundreds of people on a day where she was already filled with love and excitement,  then it would make her really happy,” Forbes said. “As for her dad, I don't remember him saying much about the venue other than joking that I'd better hope she says yes."

Relay for Life is a signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Teams of eight to 15 people sign up to walk or run continuously for 24 hours, raising money through pledges. Since launching its chapter, UNH teams have raised more than $600,000.This year they raised more than $127,000.

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