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Relay for Life Remembrance

By Ronny O'Leary, Columnist

  One of the worst experiences a person can have is to lose a loved one
to cancer. Emily Lovejoy made a tear-filled speech at Saturday's Relay
for Life fund raiser. She talked about the dreadful experience of
losing her mother, whom she called her best friend. There are numerous
stories like Emily's which describe experiences with cancer. This
disease is now one of the most common causes of death in the United
States, and it has caused unimaginable suffering for the patients and
their families. It is essential that we fight this disease in order to
decrease the pain that these people feel. Hofstra has teamed up with
relay for Life for an annual event to raise money for the American
Cancer Society.

  During the first event four years ago, there were only
300 participants. However, this fund raiser has grown in popularity so
that there were over 1,000 participants in this year's Relay for Life
event. It was the most successful event so far: the university managed
to raise over $104,000, according to the latest estimates. Heather
Schnepf, the secretary of Phi Eta Sigma, said that the university now
wants to have the most participants in an event, since other colleges
and even high schools partake in the fund raiser. I was there as a
member of Phi Eta Sigma, and it was a very emotional experience. They
showed a video of students who lost loved ones, and there were several
people that had multiple family members with this disease. There were
also speakers at the event who talked about how they have either lost
a family member to cancer or battled the disease themselves. I commend
these speakers for being strong enough to discuss such a horrible
topic. It is tragic that so many people have suffered, either directly
or indirectly, because of cancer.

   However, it was very inspiring to see so many people showing up to participate in this worthwhile event.
Heather Schnepf described how involved each participant was. "Whenever
there was a speaker, everyone gave their undivided attention," she
said. It would have taken away from the speeches if people had been
walking around." The most memorable aspect of the event was the
luminaria ceremony, where paper bags were placed around the field with
lit candles. Each bag represented someone who died from cancer. For
me, the flames symbolized the spirit that people must maintain after
losing someone to cancer. What made the event even better is that Pix
11 News showed up in order to cover the event. I saw the report about
the fund raiser the following night. This coverage is very important
because it spreads the message even further, and it will hopefully
inspire other people to join the cause. Everyone at Hofstra has
concern for each other, which is why we are motivated to come out on a
chilly Saturday night and show our solidarity in facing such a
difficult task. There are plenty of people who, like Emily Lovejoy,
have had their families torn apart by this terrible disease.
Hopefully, the popularity of this event will keep increasing, and we
can continue the fight against cancer.

Relay for Life Remembrance

5th Annual Relay shows for a cure with $100,000 donation to cancer research