Colleen Quinlan ‘15, Staff Writer
On Wednesday, November 20th, Merrimack celebrated it’s first kick-off for Relay For Life. Relay For Life is an organized overnight community fundraising walk that raises money towards cancer research. It is a 12-hour event where team members are constantly in motion to raise money towards the American Cancer Society. Relay a family-friendly event that provides food, games and activities as well as having key moments during the events. For the opening ceremony, it kicks off with the Survivors Lap, where all cancer survivors at the event take the first lap around celebrating their victory over cancer. Another event Relay has during the night is the Luminaria Ceremony, a special event that takes place after dark where we remember those whom have lost their lives to cancer, honor people who have fought cancer in the past and support those whom continue to fight. Candles or glow sticks are lit and place inside a personalized bags called luminaria bags, which are placed around the track.
At the kick-off students were able to play games, buy t-shirts, and sign up to create teams and talk to some of the committee members for any information regarding Relay this year. The four chairs this year include: Bridget Gilroy, Ben Knox, Victoria Ellis and Brianna Decina. They also have sub-committee head that have a role in activities, food, recruitment, including a general committee. The Relay For Life theme this year is the 90’s. “We are trying to make cancer a thing in the past, just like the 90’s,” Gilroy says. Relay has grown since Gilroy was a freshman, with only 25 members on the committee to now there being over 100 students: “Everyone is there for a good reason, everyone is there for each other and can relate to one another. We are fighting back against a disease that has affected our lives,” says Gilroy.
Some of the fun events that take place during Relay are: a Frozen T-shirt Contest, Jail Break where you put your friends in jail, Musical Chairs, a Scavenger Hunt, and Mr. Relay, a brief talent contest.
“We are all so passionately aggressive to fight back against cancer, it comes naturally to get excited for an event like that,” Gilroy says. Gilroy also states that it is supposed to be a positive event and you are fighting back against cancer. “We do remember what happen to us in the past, but we also celebrate now with the doctors and researchers who are looking for a cure”.
Relay for Life will be taking place on April 4th from 6 p.m.-6 a.m. in the MPR located in the Sakowich Center. This year goal is raise $50,000 and to so you can fight back by joining or creating a team as well as donating to the American Cancer Society by going to their website: www.relayforlife.org/merrimack.