Relay for Life celebrates strides to combat cancer
To honor and pay tribute to all those affected by cancer, students, families, survivors and many other enthusiastic participants gathered on the Hofstra University intramural fields for Relay for Life on Saturday, April 28. Student groups, clubs and organizations assembled teams to participate in a relay-style event practiced nationwide, during which participants walked and ran laps around the intramural fields from 5 p.m. on Saturday until 5 a.m. on Sunday. Students created fun ways to raise money during the event, and all donations went to the American Cancer Society to fund research in hopes of eventually finding a cure.
The event opened by honoring all survivors of cancer. The survivors walked a lap together while participants cheered them on. “Despite what many may feel, Relay is not meant to be a sad event. It is a celebration of the gains achieved in preventing and combating this horrible disease,” said Mitch Holson, a sophomore film production major.
Teams joined together and set up booths where they held activities that anyone could participate in. Delta Gamma and Phi Delta Theta teamed up to sell rubber bracelets and held an activity called “Pie a Phi,” where participants were given the opportunity to pie a brother of Phi Delta Theta in the face in return for a donation.
Other organizations offered to paint nails for a $2 donation. Some sold baked goods and some gave away candy for participating in a game. Brothers of Sigma Alpha Epsilon were willing to be soaked with water balloons and Sigma Alpha Mu brothers were offering to be slapped for $1 in an effort to raise money in a memorable and fun way. “Bringing the entire Hofstra community together to raise awareness as well as fundraise is honestly the highlight of my year,” said Michael Valentino, a sophomore marketing major.
In addition to the student-run booths, there were inflatable obstacle courses, bounce houses and bubble soccer for the community to enjoy. “Just as any support group doesn’t aim to point out the participants’ ailments, but rather celebrate their presence, Relay is an event that strives to create a similar environment, one of ultimate celebration, not one of grief,” Holson said.
Talented students donated their time to perform on stage during the event. Musical performances included songs performed by Phi Kappa Theta brothers, the Dutchmen a cappella group, and two gifted singers – Isabella DiNoia, a sophomore public relations major and Evan Vecchia, a sophomore economics major – who sang a series of duets.
Participants were encouraged to walk the perimeter of the field throughout the entire night in recognition of all those who have suffered or are currently suffering from cancer. Each lap honored their strength and courage, contributing to a feeling of togetherness to show that no one is alone in the fight. “It was great to see everyone coming together to support each other,” said Gabrielle Silva, a sophomore early childhood education and history major.
The luminaria ceremony took place at 9 p.m. People directly affected by cancer decorated luminarias to honor specific loved ones who had lost their lives to cancer, who have survived cancer or who are currently battling cancer. When the sun went down, the lanterns were lit, and participants walked a silent lap around the luminarias to remember all those lost or affected by cancer.
Valentino commented on his favorite part of this year’s Relay for Life event. “My favorite part had to be the Relay Pageant, when so many of my friends got on stage and lifted the mood for the night,” he said. “It was good to have some humor to wipe away the tears and lift people’s spirits.”
Together, event organizers raised a total of $42,381.96 as of Sunday, April 29. Donations are still being accepted for the cause.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.