Villanova’s Relay For Life Builds Community

Christina Iglesias

Villanova Relay For Life held its annual walkathon event on Saturday, November 23rd in the Villanova Room. The six hour event welcomed students and community members to honor individuals who have been affected by cancer and to celebrate their accomplishments. The opening ceremony included a welcome speech to reinforce the goals of Relay For Life: to celebrate, remember and fight back. Attendees kept the organization’s heartfelt mission in mind as they kicked off the event with an opening lap.

A sense of community filled the room as people of all ages gathered to eat, listen to music and play games. Attendees competed in giant checkers, Connect 4 and corn hole in between the hourly laps they took together. When people were not playing games, all eyes were on the Supernovas and Villanova Voices as they gave mesmerizing live performances. People were invited to sing along and steal the spotlight afterward at the karaoke station. 

They were also invited to make cards for Hope Lodge, a facility that provides free housing to patients receiving medical care in Philadelphia. This gesture allowed attendees to show individual who could not attend the event that they support them.

When asked about the importance of supporting patients or survivors, Villanova Relay For Life Executive Chair Angela Hong said, “With an illness as terrifying and serious as cancer, support from other people becomes so important. 

“While we fundraise for the American Cancer Society year round, our events like the walkathon in the fall and the color run in the spring are ways that we can lift up survivors and current battlers on campus, in our community and across the nation by standing with them, even just for a few hours, to show them that we will fight with them and that they are not in it alone.”

The event also sold merchandise and raffle prizes to raise awareness for Relay For Life. By the end of the evening, over $17,000 had been raised for the American Cancer Society. Representatives from the organization attended the event and survivors gave speeches about their experiences with cancer. Several survivors who spoke about their experiences with cancer led a special lap around the room in honor of their triumph.

For students interested in joining the fight, Villanova Relay For Life will host a color run on campus in the spring to continue supporting patients and survivors. The American Cancer Society also accepts donations year-round for research, education and care.