RACHEL DEVOR / THE EAGLE
With nearly double the number of participants from last year, AU raised a record $82,000 for the American Cancer Society at its annual Relay for Life.
More than 1,099 AU community members in 78 teams signed up to walk around Bender Arena for 12 hours overnight April 2-3. Last year, 587 people signed up and the event raised $48,000.
Online donations will be accepted until August, according to co-chair Sharie Regensburger.
This year, event host Colleges Against Cancer’s goal was to raise $55,000, a mark that was achieved March 28, according to co-chair Nadia Mekonnen.
The night featured a global traveling theme, symbolizing cancer as a journey.
Participants took their own journeys by walking laps to fundraise and raise awareness for the American Cancer Society.
The first lap is the survivor lap, after which caregivers join survivors for another lap, followed by a lap for all participants.
The event also included the luminaria ceremony, which involved lining Bender with paper bags that had been decorated and illuminated in honor of those affected by cancer.
Entertainment co-chair Stacey Levine called the ceremony a “solemn part of the night which reminds us why we relay.”
“I think that the luminaria ceremony is the most meaningful, seeing people holding hands, supporting each other and everything they and their families have been through,” said Matt Reiter, a senior in the School of Public Affairs.
Entertainment at the event was provided by Treble in Paradise, AU Swing Dance, Dime a Dozen, DJ Lil’E, AU alum and DJ Jessica Llewellyn, Blends with Benefits and AU Bhangra.
In addition to the performances and walks, the event featured Zumba for participants to try, Twister games, a Red Bull prize trivia game and interactive dances.
Event sponsors included the AU Student Government, Student Union Board and Resident Housing Association, as well as P.F. Chang’s, Robeks, Whole Foods, Ben’s Chili Bowl and Maggiano’s, which put on a survivors’ dinner.