By Dion J. Pierre (Staff Writer) This past weekend the Hofstra campus was burning with the fire of hope and tenacity, as once again Relay For Life proved that our student body does good things when the community stands together.
“This gives me hope because I really want to see a cure for the disease,” said first year student Melissa Koenig. “My grandfather died of pancreatic cancer [of which there is no cure.]”
Relay For Life is an annual event that various clubs and organizations fundraise for all year.
This year’s Relay was held on the intramural fields. The event spanned from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., as students camped out for 12 hours to pay tribute to cancer victims and raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Since Relay For Life’s kickoff at Hofstra in 2007, the event has become a staple of school spirit experience, growing in size every year.
This year $111,000 was raised by clubs, eclipsing the $104,000 raised last year.
Tri-Chair Alyssa Legnetti opened the ceremony by thanking all the clubs and organizations who worked to raise money for the cause. Speakers included Adam May, who recounted his recent battle with prostate cancer. While sharing his story of hope May told the audience his doctors gave him only a few more months to live.
After his speech the crowd participated in the survivor lap, which was led by survivors in attendance. As they marched, the dedicated student body marched behind them in a silent display of strength.
The most emotional moments of the night occurred during the luminary ceremony. During this part of the event participants light paper lamps in memory of those who have lost their fight with cancer, but more importantly serves as a battle cry for those still holding on.
Emotion was in the air as friends consoled one another through silent tears while “Amazing Grace,” crooned through the loud speaker. A slideshow displaying pictures of luminaries served as a visual reminder to students who their efforts were in honor of.
The rest of the evening was all in the spirit of good fun. Some clubs held bake sales to raise additional onsite funding, others threw around footballs and some walked additional laps to stay warm as the night grew colder.
Legnetti expressed the pride she had in our school for participating in such a huge way.
“I feel awesome, because this is the only event on campus that everyone comes out to,” said Legnetti. “It’s great to see everyone spending time together for such a great cause.”
Sophomore Nikki Gyftopoulos, who spoke during the Luminary Ceremony, was also elated by the way the campus came together. Gyftopoulos’s mom was diagnosed with cancer last year.
“You see friends and family consoling each other and making one another feel better about the situation. It really gives people faith and something to believe in,” said the Danceworks member, who has been participating in Relay for Life since she was in sixth grade, before her mom was ever diagnosed with the disease.
Despite participating in the event for so such a long time, Gyftopoulos insists that the event never gets old.
“It never gets old. This year we’re raising more money than we did last year, you know every year that we’re going further and further to help the situation,” she said.