A sea of UR students, donning multiple shades of neon and carrying every energy drink imaginable flooded the Georgen Indoor Track this past Friday night, April 8. There wasn’t some sugar-induced track meet scheduled or even an organized sport in mind for which the highly-energized crowd crammed in.
Over the span of 12 hours — from well before dusk to dawn — an excess of 700 students turned out to take part in the annual Relay For Life, an event meant to celebrate the many lives lost to cancer over the years, support those in the community who continue to fight the disease every day and continue to look toward a cure.
The massive portion of the student body that lent their Friday night to the cause divided themselves into 71 teams, with representatives from just about every denomination — including the music interest floor, the ROTC program, the men’s rugby team, the Eastman School of Music and seemingly every fraternity and sorority on and off campus — turning out. Vocal Point, D’Motions, Ballet Performance Group, ROC the Raas, Indulgence and UR Bhangra were but a few guests slated to keep Georgen alive and awake all night long.
While spirits ran high until sunrise and thoughts for those touched by one of the country’s leading causes of death were in no short supply, the community did more than simply voice support. Supporters raised over $55,000 for the fight against cancer by way of the actual Relay, which took place throughout the night.
Dale Levine, organizer of this year’s Relay for Life, explained how the main event of the night symbolized the past, present and future the Relay embodies.
“The first lap of the relay is the Survivor Lap [in which those who beat the disease make one lap around the track],” Levine said. “Then, their loved ones join them in what’s known as the Caregiver Lap. After that, the whole community starts to walk in solidarity.”
It was the goal of each team to have a representative walking at all times during the Relay, with students garnering funds from those who pledged money for the distance a walker or group of walkers managed to complete throughout the night. As Levine insists, this works on both a monetary and symbolic basis.
“Cancer never sleeps, so why should we?” she said.
Bernstein is a member of
the class of 2014.