Relay for Life gears up for fifth year

Jeffrey Eisenberg

Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society’s top fundraiser, had its Villanova kick-off event Jan. 30 and is now preparing for the actual event, scheduled to take place April 20-21.

The kick-off event took place in CEER, where there was a short ceremony including a video designed to show the significance of the cause, get people excited and build enthusiasm to start the fundraising.

The actual Relay for Life event takes place over a 24-hour period in the Pavilion, during which one member of each relay team must be on the track at all times. Music, ceremonies and games are scheduled throughout the event.

Among those especially excited about the upcoming event are Relay for Life Co-Chairs Shannon Leach and Christina Haughton and Recruitment Co-Chairs Cindy Fagan and Samantha Windrem.

“This is Relay’s fifth year at Villanova, and we’re growing,” Leach said. “Four hundred and fifty people were involved last year, and that was triple the year before, so we’re looking forward to an even bigger event this year.”

“Between the 25 teams we had last year, we raised $84,000,” Fagan added.

Relay for Life usually has a different theme each year, and this year’s theme is Hollywood.

“There will be a lot of movie posters, movies, games, prizes, raffles, live bands and a DJ,” Haughton said.

The extensive planning for this year’s Relay for Life has been taking place since the end of last year’s event.

Teams with enthusiastic members and creative themes are never in short supply. However, organizers say students first learning about the event should not be discouraged from participating.

“We’re trying to keep everybody involved,” Leach said. “People can even come the day of the Relay and get put on a team.”

In addition, the Relay chairs have a strong desire to get everyone, not only team captains, involved and up-to-date.

One way that communication is being furthered is through popular media like Facebook. Users can join the Villanova Relay for Life Facebook group to receive constant updates.

“All of the participants can go and look up information, so this is another great form of communication,” Windrem said. “Last year we had enough people to line the entire Pavilion track. There were so many people, and it was a great way to remember everyone who has been affected [by cancer].”

The chairs said they are planning to integrate special moments into the Relay for Life remind participants of the reason for the effort.

“One of the main components of Relay for Life is the survivor ceremony, where we recognize anyone who has survived or has died of cancer,” Haughton said. “We have a moment of silence and overall a great recognition for the cause.”