Relay for Life raises money, cancer awareness

BY Mélanie Terrasse ’14
Staff Writer

The 2012 F&M Relay for Life was held Friday from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the Alumni Sports and Fitness Center (ASFC). This fundraising event, which benefits the American Cancer Society, involved 784 participants registered with 48 different teams. Participants took turns walking the ASFC track in an effort to raise money towards cancer research. By the time the event started, the donations for this year’s Relay for Life at F&M amounted to $56,662.

This event was organized by the F&M student organization Colleges Against Cancer, which comprises 20 dedicated committee members. Events and activities at Relay for Life included cupcake sales, Luminaria, a hair-cutting event called Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a water- balloon toss contest, and many more.

A contest was also held between the College’s Greek organizations. A trophy was awarded to both the sorority and fraternity that raised the most money.

The opening ceremony began at 6:30 p.m., with a speech from Dara Hesslein ’12, president of Colleges Against Cancer, and Jessica House ’12, F&M relay chair, as well as a performance of the national anthem by Josh Chopak ’14.

“Tonight we come together to celebrate survivors, remember those we lost, and fight back against the disease,” House said.

Malu Mahotra ’14, survivor- ship chair, introduced the cancer survivors present, who then took part in the first lap of the event. F&M’s male a cappella group, The Chessmen, performed during this lap.

A Luminaria ceremony was held at 9 p.m. to honor those who have passed away from cancer. Illuminated paper bags dedicated to lost loved ones were placed along the track. A video was shown with interviews of the F&M community members explaining why and for whom they “relay.” After the video, participants were asked to place glow- sticks in the bags in the honor of people in their lives they lost to cancer, or as a symbol of support towards the cause. The people present at the event then partook in a lap to honor people who passed away from cancer, as F&M’s female a cappella group, Sweet Ophelia, performed.

After the Luminaria ceremony, 24 women from the F&M community took part in the Pantene Beautiful Lengths event. Stefanie Tapper, assistant director of annual giving, was one of the participants who donated her hair during the event.

Students at the annual Relay for Life line up to participate in a massive game of knockout. It was a goal of this year’s Relay committee to break the record for world’s largest game of knockout.

“I have never been involved in Relay for Life before, but when an email was sent out about cutting your hair, I figured I was the right person to do it,” Tapper said.

“I thought the Pantene Ceremony was truly amazing,” added Lily Seidenberg ’13, Relay for Life co-chair. “I donated my hair over the summer, so I know how hard it is to let all that hair go!”

This year’s Relay for Life also attempted to break a Guinness World Record by hosting the biggest game of knockout basketball. The record in this category is a game including 379 participants. While they did not break the world record, more than 200 people participated, and the winner received a free iPad.

The event lasted twelve hours, until 5 a.m., with many more fundraising events and activities provided by the different teams
present.

“We had an amazing committee of hard-working people, and Chris Lunden was a really great American Cancer Society staff partner,” Seidenberg said. “I was really glad to see the F&M community come together to fight back against cancer.”

melanie.terrasse@fandm.edu

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