Members of the HWS community this week are taking part in the “Paint the Campus Purple” campaign, marking the final week of fundraising and registration for Relay for Life at the Colleges. Culminating on Friday, March 28, this year’s Relay for Life event, which has been dubbed, “Lights, Camera, Relay!” will begin at 6 p.m. in Bristol Gymnasium.
The overnight fundraiser, which will last until 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, honors cancer survivors, remembers those who have died and commemorates those who have been diagnosed, as well as those who have dedicated countless hours to aiding cancer victims during their battles.
The HWS chapter of Colleges Against Cancer (CAC), which is facilitating the event on campus, works to carry out the mission of Relay for Life’s sponsor, the American Cancer Society, a nationwide health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem which has the intent of making an impact through awareness and fundraising. HWS CAC is tabling at the Scandling Campus Center throughout the week.
“I hope participants will take away how much they are making a difference in the lives of others who are affected by cancer, and are inspired to learn more about the American Cancer Society and HWS CAC through the stories of survivors, the stories of hope, and even the stories about all that is lost to cancer,” says Nicole O’Connell ’16, an organizer for both HWS CAC and Relay for Life.
At this year’s Relay for Life, participants at HWS are encouraged – although not required – to stay for the duration of activities, with teams sharing the responsibility of walking along the track. Team members will also be able to enjoy a dunk tank, live performances and games throughout the event.
Cancer survivor Hobart College Dean Eugen Baer, as well as an American Cancer Society representative will offer remarks during the event.
Pre-event fundraising efforts have included utilizing collections jars across in offices across campus, weekly fundraising tips and outreach to Residential Assistants (RA). Each RA will lead a team during the event, which offers all students the opportunity to participate.
For many people on campus, Relay for Life is a personal event. O’Connell was inspired to take part by her father, a cancer survivor. Sophie Halter ’16, who is the fundraising chair for the Relay for Life event at HWS, began participating in Relay for Life when her high school choir director was diagnosed with breast cancer, and this established her personal connection with the organization.
“I support organizations like the American Cancer Society because it is a way of life for me,” Halter says. “I feel personally motivated, driven, and inspired to integrate the organization’s hopes, dreams, and missions into my daily life. Their cause is my cause.”
Halter says the American Cancer Society’s mission has been ingrained within her personal goals. With that, she says she feels motivated, driven and inspired to rally those around her to join the cause.
At HWS last year, Relay for Life raised more than $22,000 and had a registration of over 300 students. This year’s goal is to get more than 500 people registered and to raise $30,000. In order to reach these goals, Brittany Reeland ’13 and Samuel DeLuccia ’13 launched a team for alums. All alums are encouraged to donate to the cause to help reach the fundraising goal.
CAC has also hosted several events to raise funds and awareness for Relay for Life. In February, CAC sponsored the Fraternity Feud Fundraiser, which pitted fraternities against one another in a friendly trivia competition that raised approximately $800 for the charity.
Many members of the HWS Relay for Life committee have participated in Relay for Life events in their hometowns, and have dedicated much of their time to helping the HWS event grow. This year, Relay for Life is excited to welcome new participants, especially among the Classes of 2017.
Amy Russo ’17 will lead a team in honor of her cousin, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Cancer has directly impacted someone close to me and it makes me want to find a way to help and give my support in any way I can,” Russo says. “I am excited to see what our team can accomplish, and it’s amazing to have so many people who are willing to help and who want to actively create change.”
If you have questions about Relay for Life at HWS, please contact Sophie Halter at firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to sign up or donate to this year’s event, visit the HWS Relay fo Life page on the American Cancer Society website: http://relay.acsevents.org/site/TR?pg=entry&fr_id=56446