AU raised $60,678 during its fifth Relay for Life and opened its doors to over 700 students from 8 p.m. April 13 to 8 a.m. April 14 in support of cancer survivors in the AU and D.C. community.
Participants gathered in Bender Arena for an all night "walkathon" that raised money for the American Cancer Society and cancer research. Cancer survivors led an emotional first lap around the court, which included junior and Relay for Life student coordinator Alex CVitan, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2004.
"I had my last day of treatment and immediately went to my first Relay for Life event, and it was the most amazing experience that I ever had," CVitan said.
Caregivers joined the survivors for the second lap before the music picked up and all participants walked a lap together to kick off the event.
Soon after, dancing broke out on the dance floor, with students dancing to "Gangnam Style" and "Cupid Shuffle" as participants kept up a steady flow of people walking around the track.
Throughout the night, the Relay for Life event coordinators kept participants entertained with a frozen t-shirt contests and limbo.
Different groups collected donations at the event for Relay for Life, offering nail painting and cupcake decorating stations against the bleachers. At 10:15 p.m., students began walking a silent lap in the dark around the track to begin the luminaria service, where participants listened to testimionials about losing loved ones to cancer. The service was held outside for the first time in the Woods-Brown Amphitheater that was illuminated by glowing bags decorated in honor or memory of cancer victims.
After the speeches, participants lit glow stick necklaces to honor a mother, father, grandparent, sibling, friend or to show their support. Students weaved between the bags in silence, with their necklaces glowing brightly in the dark.
Students were ushered back to the gym, where they walked a lap in silence as On A Sensual Note, AU