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Group makes valiant run to fight cancer

Photo courtesy of SLU Relay For Life Relay: SLU’s Relay For Life raised $132,311 in 2013, making it the 4th largest collegiate Relay per capita in the nation.

Photo courtesy of SLU Relay For Life
Relay: SLU’s Relay For Life raised $132,311 in 2013, making it the 4th largest collegiate Relay per capita in the nation.

 

Relay For Life of Saint Louis University was named the 4th largest collegiate Relay event per capita in the nation, hosting 1,300 fauclty, student, staff and community participants and raising $136,000 in donations.

Relay For Life is a 12-hour event dedicated to raising money for cancer research and programs provided by the American Cancer Society, in addition to supporting those who have battled cancer as well as their families and friends.

The nationwide program was inspired by Gordy Klatt, who walked and ran around a track for 24 hours in May 1985 in order to raise money to support the American Cancer Society. Relays events are hosted by various organizations across the country, and they are all centered on a team of fundraisers camping out and walking around a track from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

Participants collect donations in support of their demonstration. Every event is unique to the organization that hosts it, featuring assorted activities, games and stands offering food and items in exchange for further donations.

According to Amanda Eagan, the co-chair for the 2014 Relay For Life of Saint Louis University, the SLU chapter had raised $132,311 by the conclusion of this year’s event, but that wasn’t the end of the donations.

“Our fundraising efforts continued into August,” Eagan said, “and, during this time, we raised approximately an additional $4,000 which brought our total to a little over $136,000.”

SLU’s achievement of 4th largest collegiate Relay per capita demonstrates the strength of the community surrounding the on-campus event.

“Our steering committee worked hard to plan a fantastic event and to keep participants involved in the process year-round, and the combination of everyone’s efforts ultimately made our event a huge success,” Alex Abbate, the other co-chair for the 2014 Relay, said of this year’s impressive performance. Eagan attributed the success to the unique nature of the SLU student body.

“No matter what their major, where they come from, or what their interest may be, SLU students are focused on bettering not only themselves, but also the community,” Eagan said. “SLU students truly are men and women for others, and the success of our event is truly a testament to the service oriented culture that is found here.”

The Steering Committee, the organizational body for SLU’s event, is set to start work on the 2014 Relay on Sept. 9. Abbate held up the ‘silent rave’ activity as an example of a successful addition to this year’s Relay.

“We had individual Walkman’s for people and we played techno/dance music through everyone’s headphones,” Abbate said. “So a bystander wouldn’t be able to hear any music, but would see a group of people dancing.  It was our first time trying an activity like that.”

Registration for this year’s SLU event is already open at www.slurelay.org.

Community members are encouraged to start getting teams together early and develop unique fundraising events for their groups.

Historically, teams that register a certain number of participants by an early registration date get primary placement on the track and other incentives including free pizza.

“Relay’s wonderful success this year was the result of the hard work of our dedicated participants, above all else,” Abbate said. “We hope to make next year’s event just as successful by recruiting participants early on in the year, keeping donors and participants informed…, and of course reminding people why we Relay – to celebrate and remember those close to us who have battled cancer.”