2016 Relay For Life continues tradition, raises $125k


On April 16th, Relay For Life kicked off their 12-hour event, which went from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m of the next morning, to commemorate the journey those with cancer face.

It goes through the night to symbolize that in the same way the sun sets and rises the next day, even the darkest of times will come to an end with the light of day.

Relay For Life may only be a 12-hour event for some people, but for those on the Event Leadership Team (ELT), it is a yearlong commitment. The ELT is made up of six committees, each with a different purpose. Accounting, fundraising, communications, mission and team development are all vital to the success of Relay.

Relay’s Co-Chairs, Alex D’Agostino and Sarah Delong, thoroughly enjoy being a part of Relay. Delong says, “I have met really wonderful people and I have memories that I will carry with me even after I graduate.”

The Relay team likes to focus on the people and the experience that they can provide through service and the Relay For Life event itself, rather than only focusing on the money. They do this by serving cancer patients at Hope Lodge during the year, and as Delong says, “It is about giving people a voice to share their story, because everyone has a personal connection to cancer.”

They believe that it is just as important to listen to people’s stories and support them personally as it is to raise money.

The 66 people on the ELT met every Monday leading up to Relay For Life, starting in mid-September. Over those 209 days, ELT worked to raise awareness, fundraise and recruit survivors.

Their goal was to reach out to people, not only at Saint Louis University, but in the surrounding community as well.

The night of Relay is broken up into three parts: celebrate, remember and fight back. Each part is important when honoring those who have fought cancer.

On the day of Relay For Life, ELT’s morning started at 7:00 a.m. with set up, and their day didn’t end until 7:00 a.m. the next day with tear down.

At 6:00 p.m., Relay For Life began with the opening ceremony. This was a time to celebrate those who are fighting cancer and was followed by the start of the walk around the track.

Around 10 p.m., the Luminaria Ceremony took place. This ceremony was a time to remember those who have passed away from cancer. A luminaria is a bag that is decorated with the name of someone you want to remember. It is used to represent people who have fought cancer and either passed away, or are still with us and fighting. Each of the hundreds of luminaria bags was lit, and the names were read off during the ceremony.

The fight back speech was given around 2 a.m., followed by closing at 5 a.m., which had the biggest turn out they have ever seen at a closing ceremony. Not only did they have ceremonies and speeches, but also, many groups on campus sold food in order to raise money. There were many games in at the beginning of the night, a silent rave and several performances, including Bare Naked Statues, Elevation and many more.

Overall, the night was a huge success. There were more than 1,500 participants and more than 100 survivors registered.

The top fundraising team of the night was Kappa Alpha Theta, with over $5,000 raised, and the top fundraiser was Danielle Young, who raised over $2,000 on her own. By the end of the night, Relay For Life had collectively raised $125,349.98, and that number continues to increase everyday.

Relay For Life is a mission-based event. The Relay team believes that everyone has a story and a connection to cancer, and that everyone’s story should be heard.

The Co-Chairs were pleased with the event. D’Agostino said,  “At the end of the day, what is most important to us is that participants get the most out of the event that they can and that they have a positive experience and come away from it feeling reenergized and rejuvenated and really excited for Relay next year.”

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