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Lycoming College sorority Beta Phi Gamma, in conjunction with a community-based committee, organized the return of the 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. Representing Lycoming’s 15th Relay for Life event, and the first since the start of the pandemic, the event was held Saturday, April 15, at 12 p.m. in the Keiper Recreation Center.
Relay for Life is the signature fundraising event 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. Although the event was only six hours long this year compared to the usual twelve, activities were held every 30 minutes to ensure it was as successful and fun as possible.
This year’s event was especially impactful since it was dedicated to Lycoming College’s own Beatrice Gamble, a staff member who recently passed away following a strong battle against cancer. “Momma B,” as she was lovingly called around campus, was honored with a special luminaria and brief speech, as well as a table with a flame that burned through the entire event.
Several speakers provided inspirational remarks at the opening ceremony, including Lycoming College President Kent Trachte, English major Leahvella Rambus ’24, and Kyla Ortiz, Gamble’s daughter. In addition, attendees enjoyed a musical performance by Lyco Voices before moving on to fun events and snacks that keep students, faculty, and staff, and other community members fueled, entertained, and ready to burn enough calories to see the event all the way through, such as a Basket Raffle.
Perhaps the most special time of the event came toward the closing, when all participants remembered loved ones who have passed away from cancer during the Luminaria Ceremony, while a poem was recited in a loving tribute to those lost.
“The Relay for Life has always been super important to me,” said business major Zion Resto ’23, a member of Beta Phi Gamma and the event’s lead organizer. “We all wanted to bring it back in a special way, to show how much it means to everyone and to help in whatever way we can.”
The Survivor Dinner, which celebrates those who have won the battle against cancer and usually kicks off the event, has been postponed until July. Those interested should keep an eye out for forthcoming details.