By Kimmie Semiday
This article was originally published in Issue 14, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (April 28, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue.
Over 400 participants joined forces on April 22 to fight back against cancer for 18 hours at the 50th anniversary of Relay For Life.
Colleges Against Cancer spent the entire year pulling together the event, and paired up with DSU Live to bring the campus a “Concert for a Cure.” The main performers were country duo Love and Theft, which not only brought entertainment, but also an opportunity for the surrounding communities to get involved in Relay.
After the concert concluded, everyone made their way inside for the luminaria portion of the event, which was followed by a silent lap in memory of those who have lost their battle to cancer.
“It was really touching,” said junior Mackenzie Kelly. “Watching everyone crack their glow sticks to show how cancer has touched their lives was powerful.”
The night continued with Shave to Save, where multiple participants raised over $2,000 by completely shaving their heads in solidarity with cancer patients, or cutting their hair to help make wigs for patients undergoing treatment.
“I knew I wanted to donate my hair since last year’s Relay,” said senior Sarah Bridge. “I was so nervous at first, but after the luminaria, [I felt] it was the right thing to do. It feels great to have my hair gone and it feels even greater to know that it’s going to someone in need.”
The middle of the night was filled with events such as trivia, Zumba, bingo and performances by the Dance and Irish Step Dance teams to keep the participants energized.
“There gets to a point in the night where people get tired, but we just remind them that cancer never sleeps, and that’s when they remember why they’re relaying in the first place,” said Brynnlee Pavlovich CAC’s, Executive Board Secretary.
The last speaker of the night was senior Danika Yacik, who discussed how she fought back against cancer while her mother was sick, and reminisced on what it felt like to shave her head with her mom in 2014’s Relay For Life.
As the sun rose at 6 a.m., the crowd participated in early morning yoga held by Brian Holmes and walked outdoor laps.
“Relay For Life is one of the best experiences I’ve had—both last year and this year. Seeing everyone come out in support of such a universal cause is just so incredible to witness,” said Bridge.
The event wrapped with closing ceremonies at 9 a.m. from Ellie Charamut and Christina Calvano, two CAC executive board members. Senior members of CAC were recognized for their dedication and hard work, while the rest of crowd patiently waited to hear the total amount of money raised throughout the night.
2016’s Relay For Life raised a grand total of $28,983, which was $3,483 more than their anticipated fundraising goal. DeSales Relay For Life also became an ACS CAN event, when over 47 relayers became members of the American Cancer Society. The money raised in the months leading up to and at this year’s Relay will go to ensuring that more cancer patients have the chance to see more birthdays.