Relay for Life, organized by UR Colleges Against Cancer, was held on Saturday night in the Webster-Thomas High School field house. That evening, $44,000 was raised in support of the American Cancer Society.

“I had a good time helping out a great cause,” sophomore John Jackson said.

While this was not the first Relay for Life, the energy was seemingly different this year.

“The reason we were all there was the same, but Relay 2006 was much different [than last year],” CAC President and senior Kat Abejuela said. Last year, the event was held at St. John Fisher College and $27,000 was raised. “Last year there were 30 teams and this year we had over 50, with only one team from the Rochester Institute of Technology and one team from Monroe Community College. There were many more UR students.”

The all-night event encouraged at least one member of each team to be walking around the indoor track at all times, but also focused on exciting activities, themed the “Relay Olympics.”

“The events included a balloon pop, a scavenger hunt, a dodge ball tournament, a basketball tournament and a limbo contest,” Abejuela said. “Everyone could participate and the winning teams got points that counted toward their Olympic score.”

The games were one option for walkers taking a break from the track. Walkers not participating in the games took breaks to sit with friends, get some homework done or take a quick nap.

Participants also watched performances from UR student groups D’Motions, Ballet Performance Group and Indulgence.

Participating teams representing UR included the River Campus Medical Emergency Team, UR Fencers, Hillel, Circle K and many Greek organizations including Delta Upsilon, Alpha Phi, Kappa Delta, Alpha Phi

Omega, Phi Sigma Sigma, Phi Kappa Tau, Sigma Delta Tau, Delta Gamma Sigma Alpha Mu and Gamma Phi Beta.

Sigma Chi Fraternity donated $500 to help purchase the Wall of Hope Banner. This banner was signed by everyone at the relay and will be sent to Washington, D.C. to be unveiled during the Celebration on the Hill – an advocacy event where Ambassadors from every legislative district form a grassroots force to convince national leaders to increase the commitment to battling cancer on all fronts, including research, education, advocacy and patient services.

The most moving part of the night was the Luminaria Ceremony that took place at 9 p.m. During this ceremony, a slideshow of pictures was shown, followed by a list of names of those who are currently battling cancer, have lost the fight, or have beaten it.

“The Luminaria Ceremony was so touching,” sophomore Jen Balaban said. “It really reminded everyone of the amazing cause we were walking for and the power we can have if we all band together.”

With the lights still dimmed, all the participants stood for an emotional lap around the track together, with sentimental music still playing.

“I felt happy that I could help out,” sophomore Dan Nassau said, who led the personal fundraising efforts, generating over $4,000. “I think it was unbelievable that combined everyone was able to raise over $44,000. Think about all the tangible luxuries that money could’ve gone to, but instead it went to a great, unselfish, cause.”

The relay concluded at 7 a.m. when free breakfast was served and about 300 people took busses back to UR.

“CAC truly appreciates everyone who came to relay, especially the parents who came all the way to Rochester to participate,” Abejuela said. “We can’t thank everyone enough for the support we have had from UR students. I hope that our work cemented this event to occur each year at this school. I am proud to have helped plan such a wonderful event, to see such dedication and turnout from the students and I hope that this relay grows each year, which I’m sure it will.”Paret can be reached at eparet@campustimes.org.



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