Thursday, March 29, 2012

Relay for Life raises money, fights back

By Kassondra Burtis
News Editor

Saint Mary’s University’s Relay for Life event was held Friday, March 16, through the early morning hours of Saturday, March 17, and raised more than it ever has before, easily surpassing its donation goal.

Relay for Life is an overnight event where participants join to remember everyone who has suffered from cancer, both those who have won the fight and those who have lost it. It is a way for people affected by the disease to create awareness and raise money to help fight back against cancer.

Senior Laura Larson, co-president of SMU’s Colleges Against Cancer, said the university’s goal for this year’s event was to have 30 teams, 300 participants, and raise $30,000. The event consisted of 28 teams, 275 participants, and raised just over $36,000, though donations are still accepted until August 2012 and will likely raise even more.

“The amount we’ve raised is more than double what we raised last year and is at least $10,000 more than SMU has ever raised before with this event,” Larson said. “I am very proud of how well we did as a community this year.”

Relay does not only rely on the money raised by donations before the event, but also on activities during the event.

“Since this is a fundraising event, there is also food and games at the event to raise money,” Larson said. “Mr. Relay is one event that I see people getting into. This is an event where males dress up in women’s clothing and we have a pageant. For about the next half hour, the guys walk around the [facility] and try to get as many donations as they can. The guy that raises the most money wins.”

Along with the fundraising efforts, there are many ceremonial aspects. The night begins by introducing and celebrating cancer survivors. There is also a “Remember Speech” given by someone who has been affected by cancer and a luminaria ceremony where all luminaries are lit and everyone at the event takes a few laps around the track together.

“The part that I get into the most is the Remember Speech and the luminaria ceremony,” Larson said. “It is a time to remember those we have lost and to keep in our hearts those who are fighting. The room just becomes a place with everyone caring for one another, and it is really great to see that we have someone to lean on.”

Larson encourages those who have never been to a Relay for Life event to try one out and also encourages those who have gone to get others involved.

“In the four years that I have been here, the event has grown so much, and I hope to see it grow more in the future,” Larson said. “Let others know how great it was. Start a team next year!

“Cancer affects each and every one of us one way or another. Relay for Life is a great way to feel like you can do something about it.”

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