Relay for Life Raises Money for American Cancer Society for Fifth Straight Year

Natalie Gaugh

Colgate’s Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) held their fifth annual Relay for Life on Friday, April 16. The event ran from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., and involved both Colgate students and Hamilton residents. By the end of the relay, participants had raised $29,286 to be donated to the American Cancer Society. This is a drop in funds from the roughly $32,000 contributed last year.

“This year, because of the economy, the money was down, but the relay was more fun. We hope to implement both next year with lots of fun and tons of fundraising,” senior CAC member George Clement said.

Nonetheless, people can still donate to the school’s grand total until the end of the semester, by visiting www.relayforlife.org/ColgateUniversity.

CAC is an affiliate of the American Cancer Society. Relay for Life is an event held across the country, as either college or community relays. According to senior and CAC leader Katie Roberts, three hundred people signed up to participate in Relay for Life, about two hundred attended and thirty of them stayed all night.

The participants who stayed the night were the “people who were dedicated to it and really wanted to do it,” Roberts said.

She commented that CAC is interested in combining with Hamilton Central School in order to get more of the community involved and ensure that the Relay is better attended.

Delta Delta Delta’s team fundraised the most money, with the Hamilton Orthopedic group, called “Hamilton Mash,” earning the second largest amount. The team “Pat and Tom R Da Bomb” raised the third highest amount. Senior Katherine Byrns raised the highest amount of money as an individual, followed by sophomore Caitlin Flanagan in second and senior Katelyn Burke in third. There was an alumni team at the event as well, led by Dr. Ellen Larson from Hamilton.

“This is one of the biggest fundraisers on campus,” Roberts said. As part of the American Cancer Society mission, CAC has been fundraising all year, at one point holding a study break and a cupcake party. CAC, a relatively new club, usually holds Relay for Life in the fall, but they hoped to gain higher attendance by adding it to the well-attended spring events.

Relay for Life was held in Sanford Field House, and participants enjoyed activities such as sumo wrestling, a bounce house, cake decorating and live music. Dangerboy, CRRABS, the Dischords and the Odd Fellows also performed throughout the evening.

After Senior Caitlin Carrick gave the kick-off speech, participants had the opportunity to write cards for Syracuse Children’s Hospital, as well as senior Kevin Williams, who is struggling with a brain tumor. There was also a raffle in which all prizes were donated by local businesses and groups on campus. The next morning, Zumba and yoga classes were offered and Sodexo provided breakfast.

The main event of Relay, the Luminary ceremony, was held at 11 p.m.

“The ceremony encompasses the purpose that people donated in honor of,” Roberts said.

Senior Tim Allen, whose father had terminal brain cancer, gave the opening speech, which was followed by a slide show of the names and pictures of the people in whose honor the night’s donations were given.

“The photos included along with the names really personalize what we’re there for,” Clement said.

There were also roughly eight local community members who participated in the survivors’ lap of the relay.

“Everyone’s been affected by cancer,” Roberts said, echoing the American Cancer Society motto. “We like that people think about that. If we pick the right weekend and get the school involved, it’s a nice event.”

CAC is looking to next year’s sophomore leaders Brad Martin, Dayne Weber and Erica Testani to maintain and improve the Relay for Life tradition.