‘Relay’ participation increases, fundraising climbs to $60,000

Katie Eder

About 600 students participated in Relay for Life, which was sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Villanova and Colleges Against Cancer, and was held in the Pavilion on April 3-4.

Before the event took place, participants began to form teams and fundraise, striving to achieve an average of $100 per participant and get free T-shirts. This year, there were 74 teams in total and $59,515.30 was raised for the fight against cancer, an increase from last year’s event, where $53,380 was fundraised by 64 teams.

Relay for Life incorporated different types of games and activities to keep everyone occupied for 12 hours. The theme was “Relay Through Time … Leave Cancer Behind.”

Beginning at 10 p.m., each hour represented a different decade. Activities like tie-dying T-shirts and an ‘Nsync/Britney dance reflected each decade and entertained participants when they were not walking laps. An inflatable boxing ring, water ice and Red Bull energy drinks were available throughout the night. A DJ kept the crowd alive the entire event.

“We knew the decades could bring a new and exciting element to every hour,” said Jessica Adnett, who was the 2009 Relay for Life event chair. “We included games and activities from the decades, such as ‘The Newlywed Game’ and Nickelodeon trivia, to get everyone motivated and excited throughout the night.”

During the first few hours, ceremonies were held to honor those who have suffered from cancer. For the Survivor Ceremony, cancer survivors and students with surviving family members shared stories about battling cancer and helping those fighting cancer. Four candles were lit to spell out the word “hope” to honor survivors.

The Luminaria Ceremony honored those who have passed away from cancer. Candles were placed in hundreds of small paper bags that lined the whole track. Anyone was able to buy luminaria and have the name of a deceased family member or friend on it.

For the ceremony, participants stepped onto the track at different times to represent that they were supporting a parent, grandparent, relative, or friend. Everyone walked in silence around the track while the luminaria names were read.

For the Fight Back Ceremony, a new addition to Villanova’s Relay for Life, Jayne Bauer, a survivor and team member of “That ’70s Crew,” spoke about the ways that a person can fight back, such as asking family members to get screened. All of these ceremonies exemplified Relay for Life slogan, “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.”

The top three teams to raise money for the event were “That ’70s Crew,” “Club Swimming” and “AXO Juniors.” To fundraise, most team members e-mailed everyone they knew and attached a link on Facebook to their teams’ fundraising page.

“I made sure to let my family and friends know how important Relay for Life was to me, and how much I would appreciate their support and donations,” said Jessica Longo, a team member of “AXO Juniors,” who raised $1,550, the second-most amount of money raised by a team member this year.

For raising the most money, the team members of “That ’70s Crew” were given a special VIP tent that included free food and drinks.

“As someone who is familiar with a family member or friend having cancer, I wanted to contribute to the fight against it,” said Erin Perna, the team captain of “That ’70s Crew.” “I decided to start the team so that my friends would be more encouraged to join and become aware of Villanova’s Relay for Life.”

This year’s event was a success and showed how Villanova students are dedicated to helping those suffering from cancer. The goal is to raise $60,000, and donations are still being accepted online until August.