The American Cancer Society held its Second Annual Temple University Relay for Life at McGonigle Hall last weekend. The 15-hour relay event began April 1 at 6 p.m. and ended at 9 a.m. the following day.
Temple Relay for Life Co-Chair John O’Brien said the event raised more than $12,000 – three times the amount raised during last year’s debut.
“All the funds that we raise here tonight will help benefit cancer research, education, advocacy and patient services provided by the American Cancer Society,” O’Brien said.
More than 300 people from 31 teams contributed in the fundraising affair. Shortly after the event began, the participants engaged in a special Survivor Lap around the track.
With a few exceptions, at least one member from each squad walked around the track the duration of the 15-hour event.
Carolyn A. DeLaurentis, vice president of the Temple University Community Service Association, participated in the event because her father died of colon cancer two years ago. As an executive member of TUCSA, DeLaurentis said it was natural for her organization to raise money for Relay for Life.
“TUCSA participated in this event because we’re all about community service and raising awareness for causes, and cancer is one of the biggest causes we support,” DeLaurentis said.
In addition to relay laps, people engaged in dance activities, card games, board games, limbo, Frisbee disc tossing and other pastimes while a disc jockey played music.
Denis G. Vorobyev, a member of the Gamma Iota Sigma risk-management fraternity, danced during a warm-up routine.
“This is awesome. This is the way to get the energy up [and] get everybody moving,” Vorobyev said.
Gamma occasionally does community service, but Vorobyev mainly came to Relay for Life to have fun.
“I just wanted to hang out with my friends,” he said.
Sabrina Hanitz, recently elected president of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority, said the 15-hour fest was enjoyable.
“It’s just fun throughout the night doing the games, walking around and staying up late,” Hanitz said.
Hanitz also acknowledged the philanthropic impact of raising money for cancer research.
“You know you’re making a difference,” Hanitz said.
Junior Jamie Quadrozzi decided to partake in Relay for Life because it “is for a good cause.”
“The fact that this many people are dedicated to a cause like cancer” is beneficial, Quadrozzi said.
Several hours into the event, despite light rainfall, the participants were asked to step outside to honor or remember cancer survivors and victims in the Luminaria Ceremony.
In that commemoration, tealight candles were placed in white bags to illuminate the area in front of McGonigle Hall. After two contributors read poems and a moment of silence was held, sophomore Leihzel J. Baybayan sang Mariah Carey’s “Hero.”
“I thought it was the right song to sing,” said Baybayan, adding that she was nervous before performing.
Almost everyone participating either left early or went to sleep some time during the overnight event. Heather Larsen, secretary of the Temple University Snowboarding Club, was one of the few who remained active the entire juncture, which informally ended at 8 a.m.
“I just wanted to make sure that people were on the track from our team at all times,” Larsen said, adding “I didn’t want to ruin my sleep when I came home.”
Relay for Life is the signature national event hosted by the American Cancer Society nonprofit health organization in 3,800 American communities.
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman can be reached at Sulaiman@temple.edu.