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Relay for Life Raises $21,000 For Cancer Research

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As part of a yearly event, Roanoke College hosted Relay for Life to raise money for cancer research.

After weeks of hard fundraising, the teams gathered on the Back Quad Friday night beginning at 6:30 p.m. with pitched tents and various festivities to walk around it for the cause. Some would stay until 6:30 am, when the event ended and others just were there for a few hours. Although the stormy weather proved a formidable foe during the event, as it rained several times during the evening, the participants would continue walking inside Alumni Gym.

There were over 430 walkers this year dividing up into 58 teams with 55 of those teams being student teams. According to Rebecca Dallas, the chairman of the RC Relay for Life committee, $21,800 was raised this year, which is less than the last two years, but with the economy in bad shape Dallas says this is still pretty good.

“I think it’s important for Roanoke College students to remember that we were the first college in Virginia to have a Relay,” Dallas said. “We have come a long way since then and raised a substantial amount of money for the American Cancer Society in that time.”

RC even participated in Relay for Life before Virginia Tech which is now the #1 Relay school in the nation.

Every year, Relay also announces the top fundraisers from last year, since fundraising for the event can continue into the summer. The winner for top individual fundraiser was Nora Cosgrove ’11.  Team “It’s My Birthday” won last year’s top team fundraising award. The top fundraising organizations were Pi Kappa Alpha and Chi Omega.

The current top fundraisers for 2011 are the 2011 Formal Pledge Class of Chi Omega and Saint Jane Delta Gamma.  In the running for top participants are Leigh Joyce, Janey Peel, and Nora Cosgrove.

There was also a theme for this year’s event, Wild Wild West. Inside the Colket Center participants could get pictures taken as wild west outlaws and get water tattoos to reflect the theme. Outside, there was also a mechanical bull students were allowed to ride and carnival blow up toys for students to jump around on.

Jason LeVasseur provided entertainment outside by playing his guitar and singing original and popular songs. Of course, students also played sports on the back quad and socialized.

The most important event throughout the night was the luminary walk for those who did not survive cancer. There was one silent lap, accompanied by inspirational music, to remember those who lost their lives.

“Walking around the luminaria in Alumni Gym was very moving,” Heather Repass ’12 said.   “Reverend Chip Gunsten reminded us that we were circling those lost to cancer in light and life, and we then walked a silent circle with chemical illumination in a darkened gym. It was very moving, and there were many participants who began sobbing to be subsequently surrounded by friends. I think that was certainly the best moment of this year’s Relay.”

For many, it was a particularly moving moment because most know someone who had cancer or has survived it. It is what makes Relay special for all those involved. With all the work put into planning the event, the cause is just and all becomes worthwhile.

“My grandmother just recovered from breast cancer a few years ago, so Relay has a particular significance for me as a means of fighting cancer,” Ethan Guebert ’13 said.