Relay celebrates a decade at the University, McLeod honored in Luminaria ceremony

Around 2000 community members gathered on Francis Field between 6 p.m. Saturday, April 14, and 6 a.m. Sunday, April 15, to participate in the University’s 10th annual Relay for Life.

Late Saturday evening, the field basked in the glow of candles lit for cancer victims and survivors in the annual Luminaria ceremony, which was dedicated this year to Dean James E. McLeod. Prior to the Luminaria ceremony’s silent lap around the track, McLeod’s daughter Sara read the speech that her father read at the event’s opening ceremony last year.

The event raised $246,959.75 for the American Cancer Society, slightly less than last year’s $259,823.10.

Relay for Life is a national American Cancer Society (ACS) fundraiser in which participant teams walk around a track for 12 hours in celebration of a months-long fundraising effort for the ACS.

According to the University’s Relay for Life Co-Chair Emilie Weisser, between 1,800 and 2,000 people took part in this year’s event.

In addition to traditional laps around the track, the event included performances from several different University groups, including a cappella by the Amateurs, the Stereotypes and After Dark, as well as routines and clinics from WUSauce Salsa team and Wash. U. Bhangra. For two hours, many Relay participants took a break from walking to participate in a “silent rave” donning headphones and dancing as the same song was broadcast to each set of headphones.

According to Weisser, much of the money that is raised will go toward research grants for the University and to patient services in St. Louis.

After last year’s Relay, at which the weather was near freezing and it rained for part of the night, organizers were glad that the temperature remained in the 70s for much of the night.

“I think the event was a really great success. The weather really shaped up, and we had an amazing night. Those who were in attendance had a really good time,” Weisser said.

She says the amount of money raised is indicative of the high level of interest in the cause on campus.

“It really shows that the entire campus has support for a common cause. That this is our 10th year raising so much shows the entire effort the Wash. U. community puts in toward a common cause.”

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