By Jaclyn Silvestri
This article was originally published in Issue 14, Forty-Ninth Year of The Minstrel (April 29, 2015). Click here to view the entire issue.
On Friday, April 17, DeSales University Colleges Against Cancer hosted Relay for Life, an 18-hour event to support the American Cancer Society, with this year’s theme being ’90s cartoons. In total, over 238 participants gathered for the night to support the fight against cancer, raising over $21,000 for the American Cancer Society (ACS).
With registration beginning at 4 p.m., 23 teams gathered in McShea to support and fundraise for the American Cancer Society. By 6 p.m., the opening ceremonies began, including inspiring speeches from those who have battled cancer or have been affected by cancer in some way. Elyse Franco, a cancer survivor, spoke about the foundation of happiness and how it is applicable to everyone’s lives. She compared it to a game of Jenga, explaining that without these parts, we cannot stand tall.
Following the opening ceremony, the teams gathered around the track to cheer on and honor the survivors during the first lap. Following this lap, they were invited to a survivors’ dinner while the rest of the participants began taking strides to end cancer.
Throughout the night, each team was responsible for holding an on-site fundraiser to to contribute to their teams’ earnings for ACS. Some of these fundraisers included lap beads, ice cream, bracelets, face painting, hair braiding, Rita’s Italian Ice, coffee, smoothies, “sliming” RAs and much more. Each fundraiser contributed to both the income and the experience of Relay for Life.
A special Luminaria ceremony was held to honor those who have survived or have passed away from cancer. Each participant was given a glow stick that was not to be broken until the ceremony when his or her reason for relaying was called. The sound of cracking glow sticks to the words “yourself,” “mother,” “father,” “sister,” “brother” and so on filled the Commons with a sense of support and strength for all affected by cancer. The ceremony also consisted of a beautiful speech given by senior Jen Fay regarding the effects cancer has had in her life (see page 4). Participants of Relay could purchase personalized Luminaria bags to honor their loved ones. These bags lined the track throughout McShea and glowed during the silent and dimly-lit Luminaria lap.
In both the evening and the morning, Shave to Save had participants betting on their fellow students to shave their heads in support of ACS. The highest bidder of each participant had the opportunity to shave that participant’s head. Some chose to donate their hair to be made into wigs for those enduring chemotherapy treatments; those who didn’t want to shave their head could still donate by having their hair cut by professionals. Both men and women lined up to partake in this event and raised roughly over $2,000 for ACS.
A group of improv comedians, ManDudeBro, made a guest appearance at about 1 a.m. These comedians interviewed junior Shannon Connell and based several skits off the answers she had given. Some of the comedians in ManDudeBro are DeSales alumni, which made each skit more personalized to the things DeSales students encounter on a daily basis. Some of the topics included holding the door open for those behind you, the cornfields surrounding DeSales and the saints whom various buildings are named after.
Throughout the night, various ’90s-themed activities took place such as ’90s trivia and a ’90s fashion show. The trivia event consisted of three rounds of multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions and a final round based on one-hit wonders of the ’90s. The fashion show had each team pick a model and a representative, requiring the representative to pick out a ’90s-based outfit and describe the outfit as the model strutted around stage. These activities left the participants feeling nostalgic and enthused to continue through the night.
In the morning hours, an Easter egg hunt created great competition between the relay teams in order to collect the greatest amount of eggs. Participants sprinted across the McShea mall to find the eggs and win spirit points towards their Relay team.
During the closing ceremony, participants were given awards for their fundraising and enthusiastic efforts throughout the Relay for Life process, and speeches were given in order to keep the inspiration going to celebrate more birthdays.
“What’s amazing to me about Relay is its ability to bring people together,” Relay for Life committee co-chair Christy Kovaleski said. “It seems that people now have such a hard time with that. Everyone is always too busy or preoccupied with other things to just stop and be with other people and enjoy one another’s company. It’s amazing to see 200-plus people that don’t know each other come together and have real genuine fun. There are very few things that have the ability to do that. Relay and fighting cancer have that ability because it is something that touches every single one of us.”