There’s no place like hope: Fredonia prepares for 11th annual Relay for Life

CAMRY DEAN

Staff Writer

On Saturday, March 25, Fredonia will be teaming up with the Buffalo chapter of the American Cancer Society to hold its 11th annual Relay for Life event.

From 4 p.m. to 4 a.m., hundreds of people from more than 30 on-campus teams will gather in Steele Hall to walk, enjoy live performances, participate in games and events and celebrate hope.

Sponsored by Colleges Against Cancer, the event has already raised almost $9,000 of its $30,000 goal.

Following last year’s theme, “Creating a world with more birthdays” to celebrate Fredonia Relay for Life’s 10th anniversary, this year participants will be “in Oz.”

“There’s No Place Like Hope” will bring “The Wizard of Oz” to Steele Hall with an event-long Oz-themed scavenger hunt and activities.

“For cancer patients, it’s all about hope,” said Joyce Smith, director of Volunteer and Community Services.

“It’s the largest event on campus and a great way for students to give back in a positive way.”

Kicking off the night at 5 p.m., President Virginia Horvath and Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Terry Brown will share their opening remarks followed by the survivors and caregivers lap. Ann Carden, communication professor and cancer survivor, will also speak during the opening ceremony.

Throughout the event, luminaria bags will be lined the track in either honor or memory of participants or participants’ family and friends.

Since its creation, luminaria bags have been a way for Relay participants to honor or to memorialize someone they know who has courageously battled cancer.

According to the Relay for Life website, “Luminarias honor the memory of the loved ones we’ve lost, those currently in treatment and those who’ve overcome cancer.”

Luminaria bags will be sold during the week leading up to and during the event until 8:30 p.m. and the lighting ceremony will begin at 9 p.m.

On the eve of Relay for Life, Colleges Against Cancer and Faculty Student Association will be decorating Cranston Marche in purple for the American Cancer Society.

On March 24, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m, Cranston will be offering purple-colored dining options including pasta, potatoes and purple desserts, such as ice cream and frosted cupcakes and cookies.

“We’re going to have a table outside of Cranston with dry-erase boards,” said Danielle Romanini, event chair for Relay for Life. “We’ll have people create their own message, and then we’ll take pictures of them for to be featured in our ‘Why I Relay’ video during the luminaria ceremony.”

Along with Smith, Monica Manney, marketing chair for Relay for Life and intern for the Office of Volunteer and Community Services, and Volunteer and Community Service intern Zoe Tzetzis have created a Relay for Life case in the Reed Library which will be on display until the event.

Prior to the event, Colleges Against Cancer will have a table in McEwen Hall every day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Anyone interested will be able to register or purchase a luminaria bag for $10. The week following Spring Break, the table will be set up for last minute fundraising, registration and to raise money for the Pie a Professor event that will take place during Relay for Life.

“We’re going to have bags with each professor that was interested in participating and we’re going to have raffle tickets for anyone who donates,” said Romanini. “[Anyone interested] can donate money towards the professor they want to see get pied and then the day of the event, we’ll pick a ticket and whoever wins, gets to pie the professor with the most money donated.”

During Relay for Life, there will be performances by acapella groups Much More Chill, Premium Blend and The Guerrillas, as well as a solo performance by Aidan Licker for the second year in a row. There will also be activities such as musical chairs, tug-o-war and “Wizard of Oz” themed Minute to Win It games, as well as Zumba closer to midnight.

Students, faculty, staff and community members are encouraged to register prior to the event on www.relayforlife.org/fredoniaUNY or by visiting the Relay table in McEwen Hall. Registration will be $10. Registration is also available the day of from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. for $20. Anyone interested can register with a group, individually or with the Colleges Against Cancer e-board team, the E-Board Warriors.

“It’s the biggest fundraising event on campus, and it’s a really great cause,” said Romanini. “I know it’s 12 hours, but we’re going to have tons of entertainment and lots of activities. It’s just an awesome cause.”

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