By ELIZABETH DISHIAN—Staff Writer |
At Relay for Life it’s hard to pick one beautiful moment, but if a student had to, most would pick the Luminaria ceremony, according to Jennifer Nolte, vice president of Colleges Against Cancer. SCSU’s 2012 annual Relay for Life was hosted this past Saturday, April 28, on the Jess Dow Field.
“Last year, I was able to speak about why I relay,” Nolte said. “When I spoke about my mom, who had passed away when I was young to cancer, a shooting star went overhead. I didn’t realize this until after the ceremony when someone had approached me and mentioned it. I couldn’t help but get goose bumps knowing that had to be a sign that my mom was watching over me.”
The Luminaria ceremony is to honor those who are fighting the battle and to remember those who have lost their fight, Nolte said. There is also a slideshow that plays with pictures and names of everyone who is being honored and remembered. After the Luminaires are lit and the slideshow is played, most participants walk in d silence around the track.
“The Luminaria ceremony is an incredibly moving event for anyone who experiences it,” Sandra Bulmer, advisor for Colleges Against Cancer, said. “Whether you’re honoring someone who is dealing with cancer or remembering someone who has died, I think everyone at the event has someone or several people they think of. And the people walking silently around the track, you can sense the seriousness of the event in a wonderful way.”
The students in Colleges Against Cancer are incredibly dedicated to this task and put an enormous amount of their time and effort into making Relay for Life at Southern possible, Bulmer said.
“The money that is raised is very carefully allocated to services and research dealing with cancer,” she said. “And that’s because of all of the volunteer hours to keep the expenses low for Relay for Life. Many times you donate your money and you don’t know where it goes, but in our case a very high percent goes to the cause.”
According to the Relay for Life website, there were 525 participants, 63 teams and a total of $35,525 raised thus far.
“It’s a good feeling when someone volunteers his or
her time,” Bulmer said. “This organization would never get any proceeds from Relay for Life if we didn’t have the volunteers that we do.”
CAC does other fundraising on campus, such as working with sports teams and club events, according to Grace D’Amico, president of CAC. The club also collaborates with other events on campus in hopes of making Relay for Life even bigger.
“We work together to fight against cancer in a college setting,” Nolte said. “We have various activities such as the Great American Smokeout we hold in November and the Pink Athletic games like rugby and hockey.”
Students at Southern should “without a doubt” become involved with Relay for Life, Nolte said.
Students join the cause at first because it’s fun, according to Emily Guerrucci, North Campus Townhouse community adviser. But then when students realize they can support so many different people fighting this battle, it’s hard to imagine why people wouldn’t help out and join Relay for Life.
“I think students should get involved because this organization is working on changing the future for both our generation and many others,” Nolte said. “We are working towards a cure and I think that with every dollar we are that much closer to finding answers.”
Relay for Life inspires people to get involved in helping find a cure because everyone is affected by cancer in some way, D’Amico said.
“It’s a wonderful thing to do for many reasons; it’s fun to raise the money but it really does allow you to socialize in ways with people that we don’t do anymore,” Bulmer said. “You walk around the track all day and night and have great conversations that we don’t take time to have anymore.”
Not only do students get to socialize, but they also get so much more out of Relay for Life, she said. Fun, life-changing, important—these are all feelings students have when being involved with Relay.
Southern has so many people to thank for all their hard work for putting Relay for Life together, especially CAC, Bulmer said.
“Every time I go to a [CAC] meeting, I’m awestruck at how many students show up,” she said. “And there aren’t many things on campus that I see that students show up for.”
The executive board for CAC is professional and efficient, according to Bulmer. That’s part of the reason they have good attendance and also why students keep coming back to volunteer.
“If you told me four years ago that I would be a co-chair of this event I would have thought you were kidding,” Nolte said. “It is amazing how much you will learn when you join any organization, and the bonds you will create.”
Nolte also said CAC makes people feel welcomed and excited to make a difference.
“I became involved because I’m passionate about finding a cure for cancer,” she said. “I know that I am not a doctor and won’t be able to contribute directly to research myself, but I know donations are a part I can help with.”
The people who participate in Relay all do so for their own individual reasons, Nolte said.
“I relay because both of my parents were affected by cancer,” she said. “My mom unfortunately lost her battle, but my dad is now cancer free. I relay for more birthdays and the future.”