The Collegian
Tuesday, February 27, 2024

UR's Relay for Life raises $35,000 for cancer research

<p>Relay for Life participants came together in a circle and dedicated a luminaria to a loved one who had or is currently fighting against cancer on April at the Weinstein Center for Recreation. Photo courtesy of Kate Amabile.&nbsp;</p>

Relay for Life participants came together in a circle and dedicated a luminaria to a loved one who had or is currently fighting against cancer on April at the Weinstein Center for Recreation. Photo courtesy of Kate Amabile. 

Relay for Life at the University of Richmond held its annual fundraiser at the Weinstein Center for Recreation on April 1 and raised $35,000 for the American Cancer Society, $12,415 more than last year’s event. 

The American Cancer Society launched Relay for Life in May of 1985, and it is now the largest volunteer fundraiser in the world. The money raised from Relay for Life will be funded for cancer research, access to lifesaving screenings and support to cancer patients, according to the American Cancer Society website. 

Although UR raised $12,415 more than last year’s event, there was a smaller turnout of participants as the event was held inside, sophomore and publicity committee chair Alexandra Hall said. The event was held inside due to a forecast of rain and high winds, Hall said. 

UR Professor of Accounting, Joyce van der Laan Smith, who was at the event with several friends, said she was happy to see such a large amount of money raised. 

"I think it's wonderful that everyone is coming out to support cancer research for survivors. Whether it's curing cancer or developing new treatments, it's difficult and costly,” Smith said. “The massive amount of money raised has helped a lot, and all the people who have donated are really nice."

The event is sponsored by the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business, sophomore and president of UR’s Relay for Life Kate Amabile said. Nancy Bagranoff, faculty advisor and accounting professor, advised Amabile to approach the business school about collaborating for last year’s event as well. Throughout the semester, the business school advertised the Relay for Life event at their school and created teams of participants who walked around a track at the Weinstein Center, Amabile said. 

The event began with an opening speech from dean of the business school and professor of management Miguel Quiñones which was led by Amabile and Bagranoff, Amabile said. 

Next proceeded with the Cancer Survivor and Caregivers Celebration, during which participating community members walked around a track in the Weinstein Center. 

"The purpose of this event is not for people to race for speed but for celebration and remembrance, so we hope everyone will be relaxed, happy and comfortable to enjoy the day," Amabile said.

Participants of all ages walked and chatted in small groups, enjoying the refreshments provided by the organizationThe first floor of the Weinstein Center was divided into areas with different games including a camera booth, bowling, cornhole and a mini theater.

The second part of the event was the Luminaria Ceremony, where community members lit up bags of lights with the names of those who have lost their lives to cancer, honoring them and reflecting on the arduous journey the cancer survivors took. 

“It was really powerful,” Hall said. “It was also really sad because I’ve been personally affected by cancer.”

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Hall, who lost a family member her first year of high school, said she wishes more participants join next year’s Relay for Life event so that UR can raise more money. 

The American Cancer Society was founded in 1913 and is a volunteer-driven 501C-3 nonprofit organization that's mission statement is "save lives, celebrate lives & lead the fight for a world without cancer." The society now has 2.5 million members including survivors, patients, advocates, volunteers and researchers, who hold Relay for Life fundraising events in 29 countries worldwide, according to the American Cancer Society official website.

Contact news writer Audrey Chen at audrey.chen@richmond.edu.

 Executive editor Ananya Chetia contributed to reporting. 

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