University’s Relay for Life raises $40,000 for cancer research

Balloons and banners, snacks and solidarity were all on display Saturday night at the University’s fourth-annual Relay for Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society.

The event attracted just fewer than 800 participants and raised more than $40,000 for cancer research and support for survivors, said event co-chair and University senior Zach Nicolaides.@@

“We’ve grown every year in dollars, in teams, in participants and community involvement,” Nicolaides said. “It’s been a really fun ride.”

In addition to donations before the event, there were a number of groups selling snacks and beverages, with proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.

Surrounding the track were luminarias@@ made by participants to honor those in their lives affected by cancer. Each was made by decorating a white paper bag with a message for that person and placing a candle in the bottom.

University undergraduate Leslie Moeller’s mother is a cancer survivor, having beat the disease for 10 years and counting.@@

“For me, it’s celebrating my mom and every day that I get to spend with her,” Moeller said.

University students Joe Stepp and Christian Erichsen, who were members of the team formed by the campus group Alliance of Happy Athiests, had planned to walk for the entire event, from 5 p.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Sunday.@@

Erichsen said they walked for six hours, completing 51 circuits of the event course before they were physically unable to walk anymore.

After that, “we did one more lap, and we’re calling it a rest,” Erichsen said. By their calculations, Erichsen and Stepp walked almost 19 miles.

Other participants, when not walking, enjoyed playing games on the outdoor field, or watching a movie inside the Student Recreation Center where event organizers set up a projector and a DVD player. Along the side wall of this room was a display showing statistics about cancer and the research being conducted to fight it.

Participants also had the opportunity to enter prize drawings throughout the night. Drawings for T-shirts, hats and other promotional items were open to all participants, while a small donation was required to enter drawings for better prizes, such as an Apple iPad and a Nike hat signed by Nike founder and University benefactor Phil Knight.

The side activities — which also included musical performances, themed laps and games of bingo — were there to keep spirits high as the participants walked through the night and into the early hours of the morning.

“We just try to keep the morale up,” event co-chair Annelise Schoups said. “Keep the energy going.”@@


Daily Emerald

Daily Emerald