RACHEL DEVOR / THE EAGLE
Members of the AU community raised over $77,000 and walked for cancer research at the fourth annual “Relay for Life” on April 14.
Students, survivors and caretakers stayed up for 12 hours in honor of Relay’s “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.” slogan.
Relay For Life is the main volunteer-driven cancer fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. The event is held to spread cancer awareness and celebrate the lives of survivors, caretakers, patients and those who lost their lives to cancer.
The top three fundraising teams this year were the Relay Committee Chairs, the United Methodist Student Association and the Delta Phi Epsilon Fraternity and Sorority.
The Relay committee created a “March Madness” bracket for all participating Relay teams to build momentum and raise money for the event. Each week, registered teams were put up against the other AU teams to see who could raise the most money that week.
The D.C. Delta Chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity won the Relay “March Madness” Tournament, even though they did not win the most money overall.
Their chapter raised $3,616, according to Luminaria Chair Corinne Abolafia and Recruitment Chair Daniel Knoll.
The Luminaria Ceremony at the event recognized family members, friends and anyone else who passed away from cancer. Participants walked slow laps around decorated white paper bags lined up around the gymnasium floor of Bender Arena in honor of all those affected by cancer.
Mock Trial members and juniors Eric Fleddermann and Jessica Lagomarsino won the Mr. and Mrs. Relay competition. For the competition, each participating Relay team selected one male and female member to dress up as a member of the opposite sex. They were asked to dance and perform to a musical number. Onlookers then donated money to Relay to the dancer of their choice. Over $500 was raised through this competition.
“It felt great to win the competition because I knew it meant I had raised the most money and was able to make a difference,” Lagomarsino said. “Frankly, I’ll do anything, including being ridiculous as possible, to raise money for the fight.”
Relay for Life featured performances from the AU Bhangra team, as well as AU a capella groups On A Sensual Note, Dime A Dozen and Blends With Benefits. To keep people awake in the late hours of the event, participants were taught zumba at 4 a.m. and yoga at 6:30 a.m.
Relay for Life sponsor Blackberry also gave out prizes such as a free pizza and yoga mats. Junior Sauric Cabrera won the drawing for a free Blackberry.
It was School of Public Affairs freshman Emily Horowitz’s first time attending the AU Relay event, but she participated all throughout high school.
“I loved seeing everyone come together for the cause,” Horowitz said. “I have a lot of family and friends who have or are currently fighting cancer, so it has always been a close cause to me.”
Disclaimer: Mercer is in Sig Ep and previously helped organize Relay for Life events.