Last Friday, September 26, Colgate students and faculty gathered at Sanford Field House for the 6:00 p.m. kick-off of Relay for Life. Over the course of the night, hundreds of people filtered in and out to support their friends as they walked around the track in celebration of those who have battled cancer and in remembrance of those lost.
This is a record-breaking year for Relay fundraising at Colgate. As of press time, participants have raised $39,147.96 compared to last year’s total of $36,000. All of the proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society’s many programs that support cancer patients. One of these programs is the Hope Lodge, which offers free overnight lodging and support for cancer patients receiving treatment away from home. Twenty-seven patients from this area stayed at a Hope Lodge last month. It costs about $3,000 to support one patient for ten days.
364 participants signed up online, comprising thirty-three teams. Many that attended were bearing custom-designed t-shirts and costumes. One group of first-year students from Andrew’s Hall pitched a tent in the middle of the Field House, prepared for the long haul. A team of sophomore girls carrying the name, “Yea, We’re Pretty Sweet,” was decked out in makeshift super hero costumes. Almost everyone that participated in the actual relay chose to walk, but first-year Mike Chamberlain was the only one to complete a marathon during the course of the night.
“It was truly an amazing feat,” junior Katie Roberts said who was the event co-chair along with junior Grace Baik. “Everyone was cheering him on and running along with him for the last couple of miles. It showed the spirit and unity that embodies Relay for Life.”
Participant sophomore Elizabeth Tone, of team “Yea, We’re Pretty Sweet,” stayed to watch Chamberlain finish the marathon.
“I ended up leaving around 1:30 [a.m.] but I decided to stay that long to cheer him on. I ran with him the last three and a half miles, and at the end we lined up along the sidelines to congratulate him on his last lap. They got some kind of streamer material for him to break through when he crossed the finish line, which was really nice,” Tone said.
There were several other events planned to accompany the relay. At 7:00 p.m. The Colgate Resolutions sang a four-song set, followed by a cake-decorating contest. Later in the night, however, the event took on a more serious tone to re-emphasize the cause.
“My ‘favorite’ moment was the luminary ceremony,” Baik said. “I put favorite in quotes because, while it’s an incredibly meaningful moment, it usually brings people to tears. I believe that it’s necessary to have a luminary ceremony so that all the participants can focus [on] and remember their purpose.” The ceremony ended with a slideshow of people that the students were relaying for and a unified lap around the track in remembrance of them. One junior spoke about his personal experiences with cancer and remarked that it gave him hope that so many would give up their Friday night out to support the fight against the disease.