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Lycoming College student club, Colleges Against Cancer, will once again organize its annual Relay For Life event to celebrate cancer survivors from the College community, as well as to raise funds to help take action against cancer. This year, the College is partnering with the students to host the event in the Keiper Recreation Center, March 23-24, and have made some changes to the program that they hope will boost participation to 300+.
Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society, where participants take turns walking around a track non-stop to signify that cancer never sleeps. At Lycoming, individuals and teams of students, faculty, and staff from across campus raise money for cancer research by selling treats and providing fun activities for participants for a full 12 hours.
Business major and event organizer, Jena Hampton ’18, is passionate about the event. “After participating in Relay For Life as a freshman, I became very interested in how to generate additional interest on campus to raise more awareness and funds for this wonderful cause,” she said. “I’ve stuck with the group throughout my college career and am now serving as president of Lycoming’s Colleges Against Cancer for the third year in a row.
The Survivor Dinner kicks off the event at 5 p.m. in the Keiper Recreation Center atrium with a meal donated by campus dining provider, Parkhurst Dining Services. Following the dinner, the Opening Ceremony sees participants take a lap around the recreation center track, and from there move onto fun events and snacks that keep students, faculty, and staff nourished, entertained, and ready to burn the midnight oil to see the event through until morning, such as:
• Frozen shirt contest to see who can thaw out a shirt the quickest
• Basket raffle
• Mr. & Mrs. Relay, where two participants venture outside of the rec center and compete the raise the most amount of money in 20 minutes
• Hair cutting
Perhaps the most special time of the events comes at 10 p.m. when all participants remember loved ones who have passed away from cancer during the Luminaria Ceremony. A slide show set to music pays a loving tribute to those lost while all in attendance pause for a moment of silence and take a lap around the track holding luminaries.
“I’m thankful to the College for working with us to make this year’s Relay a success,” said Hampton. “The event is near and dear to my heart, and despite some hurdles that threatened to upend our plans, I was pleasantly surprised when everything came together.”
Lycoming’s first Relay was held in the spring of 2005 when student Lindsay (Martin) Courteau ’07, passionate about finding a cure for cancer, was instrumental in establishing the event. Martin’s father had a diagnosis of cancer and her interest the American Cancer Society was both altruistic and personal. Now in its 13th year, the event has become a cornerstone of student efforts to raise both awareness of and money for a terrible non-discriminating disease.
“As a student-run event, it is moving to see peers encourage and challenge one another in raising funds, but more importantly providing emotional support to the many that know loved ones who have experienced cancer,” said Dan Miller, vice president for student life and dean of students at Lycoming College. “ ‘Relay,’ as it is known on campus, epitomizes the care, concern and willingness of Lycoming College students to take action to address a significant issue. Like Lindsay, for many the issue is personal, yet at the same time they feel compelled to be a part of the solution.”