Juliemar Ortiz – Special to the Southern News –
Cinderella, Lighting McQueen, and Tinker Bell centerpieces decorated tables in the Adanti Student Center Ballroom on Thursday night at the Relay For Life Kick Off.
Shanley McClave, Vice President of Southern’s Colleges Against Cancer, a campus club dedicated to raising funds and awareness to fighting cancer, said they have a kickoff every year for teams and individuals interested in fundraising for Relay For Life.
“Here everyone is going to sign up, get a team packet, watch videos from last years relay, have a good time, and just get excited to start fundraising for our great event in April,” said McClave.
The night began with a screening of Southern’s 2012 Relay For Life video, which was filmed and edited by members of SCSU TV. Students who watched the video got to see what goes on during the 24 hours of Relay For Life.
According to the Relay For Life Website, the event is a fundraising walk organized to raise money to help the American Cancer society fight cancer.
This year, the Southern Connecticut Sate University Annual Relay For Life will be held on Saturday, April 20, at 6 p.m., at Jess Dow Field. The theme for this year is Disney. Participants can expect to walk laps around the track, and camp out all night on the field. There is a Luminaria Ceremony, survivors lap, and a Fight Back Ceremony.
“We’re going to have an awesome DJ, lots of games, we’re going to do a lot of moving around, and get the word out that we can cure cancer,” said Jessica Weimann, President of Colleges Against Cancer at Southern.
When the video was over, the audience’s attention was directed to a bucket on a chair placed on the stage. Colleges Against Cancer members placed items into the bucket in honor of individuals who had cancer; stones, for the rocky road that is cancer, flowers, for their inner and outer beauty, a pen, so that they may write the next chapter in their lives, candy, for their sweetness, a clip, to show that cancer cannot clip their wings, a flashlight, because they light for others to see the path towards a cure, and hope, because it’s something they give all of us.
Weimann then spoke about cancer survivors and the importance of caregivers.
“A caregiver is not only a family member, but it can be anyone who provided spiritual and emotional support for someone going through cancer,” she said.
She encouraged anyone who is or was a caregiver for someone to sign up for the second lap of the Relay For Life, which is dedicated to the caregivers. She then asked that audience members write down why they relay on a board.
“Why not, it’s a good cause,” said Victor Moreno, a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity. This will be his fourth year participating in Relay For Life, along with his fraternity brothers.
“Our philanthropy is St. Jude’s Cancer Research, so it goes hand in hand with Relay For Life,” he said.
In the spirit of this year’s Disney theme, Rob Gerowe, a representative staff member from the American Cancer Society spoke at the kick off about the goals of the American Cancer Society, while wearing a Donald Duck hat. Fundraising and finding cures, helping people get well and stay well, fighting back and having hope, are the goals.
“My hope is that you guys do so well in April [at Relay For Life], said Gerowe, “that I’ll be out of a job.”