Relay raises $23,514.50 for cancer research

by Joe Regan | 5/16/16 6:36pm

This Saturday’s Relay for Life raised $23,514.50 for cancer research from 47 teams and 364 participants. The event ran from 6 p.m. Saturday night to 6 a.m. Sunday morning in Leverone Field House and saw an increase of 50 participants compared to last year.

The Colleges Against Cancer chapter at Dartmouth organized Relay for Life at Dartmouth. The money raised will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Mercedes de Guardiola ’17, the current co-president, shares her responsibilities with Ian Sullivan ’18 and Sai Mupparaju ’18.

“This year’s Relay exceeded expectations spectacularly,” de Guardiola said.

In preparation for the event, the Colleges Against Cancer chapter spent the fall and winter terms raising awareness for Relay among the student body. The year-long process begins every year in the fall when three subcommittees are formed: one for logistics and sponsorship, one for outreach and one for campus engagement. The organization sold flair in the fall and held a winter bazaar event in the winter to raise funds for Relay for Life.

Sullivan, co-president of Colleges Against Cancer alongside de Guardiola, said the winter bazaar in February kicks off fundraising for the Relay for Life event in the spring, and included performances by all-female a cappella group the Decibelles and all-male a cappella group the Brovertones, pie-throwing, temporary tattoos and various other activities.

Last Tuesday, Collis Governing Board partnered with Colleges Against Cancer via their weekly trivia night. Sean Cann ’17, a member of Collis Governing Board, said for the special trivia session on Tuesday, three of the six rounds were devoted to questions about cancer and the Relay for Life event. This is the second year that trivia night has supported Relay for Life.

Cann said the Collis Governing Board often works with various groups on campus to broaden outreach, and Tuesday Trivia usually draws around 60 to 80 people each week.

Colleges Against Cancer also sold lanterns on Wednesday for use in the luminaria ceremony held last Thursday evening on the Green. Attendees inscribed the lanterns with personal messages and illuminated them on the Green all night.

Saturday’s event was comprised of four main ceremonies along with activities such as mini golf, a movie, laser tag, an obstacle course, board games and face-painting, allowing participants to stay active for the all-night, 12-hour event.

“The reason for the length of the event is it is supposed to be metaphorical for the journey of a cancer patient,” Sullivan said.

The event began with an opening ceremony featuring Wolfram Goessling, a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School as well as a cancer patient. The opening ceremony is intended to remember those cancer patients who have died.

The Survivor Lap then kicked off, followed by the Fight Back ceremony, which honors current cancer patients and survivors. During the closing ceremony at 5:30 a.m., the highest-fundraising teams were announced.

Cardigan Mountain School’s National Junior Honor Society raised the most money with a total of $4,299. In second place was Alpha Delta Unrecognized with $3,520, followed by Alpha Phi sorority at $2,840. The top prize for the winning team is a breakfast with College President Phil Hanlon. De Guardiola noted that members of the winning team were there the entire night, as were many other participants.

“The point of the event is not just to raise money, it is for encouragement as well,” Sullivan said.

This year every sorority on campus formed a team, as well a majority of the fraternities. Sullivan said most of these houses each contributed over $500. de Guardiola said that athletic teams at the College do not often form their own Relay teams, but this year the women’s club soccer team and men’s rugby football club registered and were admirable participants. The Christian Union and Agape Christian Fellowship, organizations which did not have teams last year, also formed teams this year.

“Our goal is to get every student at Relay and bring the community together to fight cancer, which is such a personal thing,” de Guardiola said. “We are all in this together and we are going to keep fighting.”

This year the entire event was dedicated to the memory of Summer Hammond ’17, who died last July due to complications from radiation treatment.

Hammond herself was a dedicated member of the Relay for Life committee, de Guardiola said.

“She was always so positive and last year was already emailing me with ideas she had for this year’s Relay for Life,” she said. “We are all sorry she could not be here to see it.”

Correction Appended: (May 17, 2016)

The original version of this article stated that the Relay for Life winter bazaar raised funds and helped defray costs of the event. In fact, the money from the bazaar all went to the Relay for Life charity. The costs of the event are covered by the Special Programs and Events Committee.