Relay for Life Ignites Hope at University


Courtesy of Kaitlyn Irwin

Corinna Vlahoyiannis

On April 14th, Relay for Life at Villanova hosted its annual day long relay event in support of the American Cancer Society. Students participated in a relay, walking alone or in teams around the Oreo in support of those who suffered from cancer both in the past and present. The event raised an impressive $35,783 for the American Cancer Society.

Co-Executive Chairs Kirsten Everson ‘18 and Olivia Mann ’18, gracefully adapted the logistics of the event to fit at the Oreo, as it is usually held in the Pavilion. Everson was pleased with the change in location, however, sharing, “The weather was beautiful so people passing through the Oreo got to see our event and learn about Relay’s mission. With so much change this year, I think our event did go really well.”

“All of the proceeds of Relay for Life support the American Cancer Society,” Everson explained. “This money funds life-saving research as well as resources like Hope Lodge, rides to/from treatment and support systems. The event itself is so important because it brings a larger community together. Survivors celebrate with their loved ones, we honor those we’ve lost, and ultimately fight back against cancer.”

Besides the relay, activities for registered participants included blind dodgeball, live performances, a delicious lunch menu and Zumba, as well as speeches from cancer survivors Jackie Dollard ’20, the father of Villanova student Matt Bermonte ’20, and Jack Sherwood ’20.

“Relay of Life is something that is very important to me,” Sherwood, also the Mission Chair for Relay for Life, said. “Being a cancer survivor, I want to be able to fight for those that can’t fight and so those in the future won’t have to.”

As a senior, Everson hopes that in future years, Relay for Life can expand to become an even larger event on campus, as she is confident in the leadership of the current underclassmen, and it appears they are ready to take on the challenge.

“This is my second year doing Relay for Life,” Raquel Chakales ’20 said. “I am so proud of being a part of an organization that brings a community together for one cause that’s finding a cure so no one has to hear ‘you have cancer’ again.”

Richard Masiello ‘19 served as the Account and Registration Chair and echoed the sentiments of Everson. “It was incredible to see main campus filled with people supporting such a worthy cause,” Masiello said. “The combination of the weather, the passion for showing support, as well as a vibrant community coming together created an incredible synergy that day,” despite the new venue.

The success of the day demonstrates that it is the people and the cause, not necessarily the venue, that makes Relay for Life such a special day in the community.