All across campus purple streamers are calling attention to the Paint the Campus Purple campaign, encouraging HWS community members to sign up for Relay for Life, raise money for cancer awareness and “Remember, Celebrate, Fight Back!”
The Colleges’ Relay for Life will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 5 and run until 7 a.m. on Saturday, April 6. The event honors cancer survivors, remembers those who have died, commemorates those who have been diagnosed and those who have dedicated countless hours to aiding cancer victims during their battles. Relay for Life is initiated by the American Cancer Society, a nationwide voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem, which has the intent of making an impact through awareness and fundraising.
“On campus there are a few close friends of mine who have shared their stories, expressing to me ‘why they relay,’ and after hearing their stories I am inspired, moved and motivated,” says Sophie Halter ’16, a member of the Paint the Campus Purple committee. “I strongly believe in the power of fundraising and raising awareness of the struggles and obstacles behind cancer.”
During the overnight fundraiser, participants at HWS are encouraged – although not required – to stay for the duration of activities.
“Our Relay for Life committee will have incredible events planned, so we will be sure to keep everyone who comes to relay at 7 p.m. staying at the event and enjoying the experience until 7 in the morning,” Halter says.
Since it is an all night event, to keep the participants awake, the annual event includes many performances throughout the night. The performances will include the HWS a cappella groups, 3 Miles Lost, the Hobartones and Perfect Third. In addition, the event hosts campus organizations, a DJ, games, competitions and theme laps. As of earlier this week, there were 39 teams already signed up, with a combined total of more than 180 individual participants.
This year, Devon Genut ’16 is the survivorship committee chair for the event.
“I have personally known and lost many influential people in my life to cancer,” Genut says. “I think that losing the people I loved to this disease is one of the many reasons that I wanted to help organize this effort. Everyone on the Relay for Life committee hopes to have as many people as possible come to the event and also to just try our hardest to raise money to go toward research for a cure for cancer.”
Also helping to make this year’s Relay for Life at HWS an excellent fundraiser, there are several student organizers, including Sarah Feldman ’15, Henry Smith ’15 and Emily Suprenant ’15.
And, for event participant Kristen Faughnan ’13, Relay for Life is personal, just as it is for many others on campus.
“I participate because of my uncle, who passed away a few years ago, and my cousin, who is a survivor,” Faughnan says.
As president of Rotaract, Faughnan heads up the club’s team, the Rotaract Relayers.
“We’re a service club and a part of the HWS community, so this is a great opportunity to make an impact while also supporting our own community right here,” she says.
In addition to holding a bake sale with all proceeds going to Relay for Life, the Rotaract Relayers will host a table where relay participants can make colorful pillowcases for children hospitalized with cancer. The pillowcases will be donated to ConKerr Cancer to be distributed.
“The event is great – there’s such an atmosphere of determination, celebration and remembrance, all at once,” Faughnan says.
To learn more about Relay for Life at HWS or how you can join the fight or donate for this cause, visit www.relayforlife.org/hobartwilliamsmithcollege or contact Devon Genut ’16 at firstname.lastname@example.org.