Relay For Life raises over $150,000 for American Cancer Society
Students raised a total of $152,105.60 dollars at Relay for Life held from Saturday, April 11 to Sunday, April 12 on Francis Field.
The 12-hour festival is held each year in order to raise money for the American Cancer Society, and aims to “celebrate, remember and fight back” against cancer.
Relay for Life is the second largest event held on campus, after WILD. This year, the event raised about $23,000 less than last year.
The event runs from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. to parallel how cancer never sleeps, thus neither do the participants during the time of the event.
“The overnight nature of the event is also symbolic of the journey that a cancer patient may go through – the beginning sort of being like their diagnosis and making their journey to hopefully finding a cure and going through remission some day,” senior Rachel Catanese, social media chair and team development committee member, said.
Ceremonies at the event included the Opening Ceremony, the Luminaria Ceremony and the Closing Ceremony, that occurred at 5:30 a.m. According to Catanese, the Opening Ceremony celebrates survivors and the victories in their own fights. The Luminaria Ceremony remembers those who have lost their battle to cancer in order to honor their memory. The closing ceremony wraps up the ways in which the empowerment through the event manifests itself in the form of fundraising and how individuals can collectively make a difference for the organization. This year’s Luminaria Ceremony also had a record number of people in attendance.
“The best part is definitely being able to share the event with the people that I care about both on steering and my friends,” Catanese said. “But mostly, being able to be at the event and run the event and then see all of my friends come and enjoy it for what it is and find their own sense of healing and empowerment through it as well.”
Entertainment at the event included a four-hour silent rave and music from various a cappella, improv and dance groups. Many groups, including Greek organizations and cultural groups, held on-site fundraisers during the event.
“It was a wonderful last collegiate relay to have, especially as a member of the steering committee,” Catanese said.
Freshman Hannah Oden-Brunson attended Relay for the first time and said, despite not knowing what to expect, she enjoyed her experience.
“Getting to hear everyone’s stories was inspiring, and gave whole new meaning to the words ‘celebrate, remember, fight back,’” Oden-Brunson said. “My favorite part of the night was definitely the Luminaria ceremony, just because it was incredibly moving to see everyone come together around the track in love and support of each other.”