Relay For Life Brings Out Student Support

Friday, March 1 witnessed the culmination of months of planning that brought the American Cancer Society’s main fundraising event, Relay for Life, to Colgate. Since early September, Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) has been preparing for Relay, an all-night event that celebrates cancer survivors, commemorates cancer victims and fundraises for cancer research. CAC is led by its three presidents, senior Emily Guenther, senior Jillian Smith and junior Dani Glassman. The group’s efforts generated widespread support from both the Colgate and Hamilton communities and succeeded in raising $35,733.82 for the American Cancer Society, surpassing its original predetermined fundraising goal of $35,000.

Relay 2013 was Hollywood-themed and occurred in Huntington Gym from 6 p.m. on Friday, March 1 to 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 2. All CAC members were involved in the planning stages of the fundraiser. Several underclassmen serve as committee heads. CAC members also worked to recruit friends to join a team and attend Relay at the “Relay for Life Kickoff” at the O’Connor Campus Center last semester.

“I really think that our club took on the responsibilities that our club needed to do … any responsibilities that we gave them [our members] they did above and beyond,” Guenther said.

Smith echoed Guenther’s sentiment.

“Our club is very young and it was great to see so many people who are as enthusiastic as we are,” Smith said.

Relay 2013 boasted a total of 21 teams and 146 participants, who were expected to take turns walking around the “track” in Huntington Gym to symbolize the fact that cancer never sleeps. The rest of the night was filled with many activities, designed to keep the participants engaged and awake until dawn. Highlights included a cake-decorating contest, a zumba class, a performance by The Colgate Resolutions and movie screenings in the early morning hours. First-year Alec Schwab’s survivor testimony that related his challenging battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma captured the night and served as a powerful reminder to all of the devastating effects of cancer and the need to continue the search for a cure.

Participants were also able to purchase a luminaria – a white paper bag – for a $5 donation and decorate it by dedicating it to someone who has experienced cancer. Sophomore Ariel Sherry’s Powerpoint presentation honoring those whose lives have been touched by cancer began the traditional Relay luminaria ceremony, another of the night’s most powerful moments.

Top fundraisers included first-years Sara Reese, Elle Gahagan and Hannah Jones. CAC’s presidents were very pleased with Relay’s success and their members’ dedication.

“We really hope that they carry on the tradition,” Guenther said.

Contact Kerry Houston at

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