West Chester University will be holding its first 24 -hour Relay for Life fundraiser on Saturday, April 28, which will benefit the American Cancer Society and pay tribute to those fighting the battle against cancer. Relay for Life began over 20 years ago in Washington state raising $27,000 its first event. Currently there are over 4,600 relays nationwide that support this cause. In 2006, $375 million was raised across the country through this fundraiser.
This year at WCU, 440 people and 43 teams are currently registered to take part in the event. It will start at noon on April 28 and will end at noon on April 29 with several activities to do within the 24 hour time period. It will take place in the residential quad of Hollinger Field.
For this fundraiser, people are asked to create teams which are comprised of about 8-15 people. These teams fundraise for Relay for Life throughout the year prior to the event. The teams consist of cancer survivors, people who have known cancer victims and anyone who wants to support a good cause.
Relay for Life serves to raise money for the American Cancer Society to aide in cancer research and eliminating the disease. Along with raising money, the event also joins together survivors of cancer, people who are struggling with this disease, caregivers and the community as a whole.
WCU student Lessie Cardinal is the chairman for this event. He has been working with Jenny Krause, a repressetative from the American Cancer Society, in planning this fundraiser since September.
“Last year WCU planned a 6-hour Relay for Life, but it was small with only about 30 people and they raised $8,000 collectively,” he said.
Cardinal decided to hold a 24-hour long, larger Relay for Life because he participated in the event in high school and thought it was important to do again. He said there have been lots of volunteers to help with the cause. Donations have already come in and they have a pre-estimate of $15,000 raised, but “hopes to raise between $40,000-$45,000 by event time,” Cardinal said.
The event begins with registration at noon on Saturday. The opening ceremonies start at 3p.m. including the opening lap. At 5 p.m. the survivor’s ceremony takes place where one survivor of cancer and one caregiver will speak. Also, at this time there will be a survivor reception being provided by Pita Pit. The Luminaria is a candlelight ceremony, is held at 9 p.m., where victims of cancer will be honored. The fundraiser ends with the closing ceremony at 11:30 p.m.
During the event, at least one member from each team is encouraged to be walking the entire time. Relay for Life volunteers have organized several activities and ceremonies that will take place including basketball, relay games, live music, volleyball, football, karaoke and several other games. This event is meant to be fun while still creating awareness, remembering victims and celebrating survivors of cancer.
Everyone is welcome to attend Relay for Life. The fundraiser is open and free to all students and the community. Cardinal says he hopes to have between 600-700 people in attendance. If you would like to sign up, make a donation, or learn more information about Relay for Life, visit the Web site, www.acsevents.org/relay/pa/Westchester.