Rachel DeYoung ’16
For the first time ever, the annual Relay for Life event will be taking place in Lawler Rink due to increased participation.
This year’s Relay for Life event is scheduled for Friday, April 15.
Last year, over 500 students participated in the event, creating a need to move the event into a larger footprint, said Brianna Decina, cho-chair of Relay For Life. The turnout is expected to be even bigger this year, as the Live to Give organizing committee has revved up their marketing initiatives.
Last year, Merrimack raised over $60,000 for the American Cancer Society and has high hopes for fundraising this year, a goal of $62,000. The money raised aids efforts in research, education, advocacy, and patient services, Decina said. One example of how these funds are used is through the Hope Lodge, a facility for people from out of the area who are undergoing cancer treatment. They can stay with their caregiver (free of charge) for as long as they need. Last year, the Relay For Life committee took a trip to the AstraZeneca Hope Lodge in Boston.
Senior Tara Daly is in charge of food and sponsorship for the annual Relay event and attended this trip last year.
“Our committee went to the Hope Lodge in Boston and baked for the residents. Afterwards, we got to the facility and hear some of the stories from the patients who were staying there,” Daly said. “It was so nice to see the facility and how many awesome services there are for these people. The only requirement to stay at the Boston Hope Lodge is that they are receiving treatment at a Boston hospital and live more than 50 miles away.”
At this year’s event, the Under the Sea theme will boast vibrant colors and creative decorations. Entertainment, food, and other activities will fill the 12 hours and keep participants engaged. Along with these fun initiatives, attendees will also get to listen to students talk about their experiences with cancer.
The 12-hour overnight event is meant to symbolize a cancer patient going through treatment. Decina discussed the relationship between the event and a cancer patient’s journey.
“When you are diagnosed, you are often down in spirit and tired, similar to how you feel around 2 am at Relay,” she said. “As the sun begins to rise around 6 a.m., you become hopeful as you see the sunlight, similar to the light at the end of the tunnel as a patient finishes their treatment.”
Senior Kathleen Lowe is in charge of fundraising for the annual event and has been involved in Relay For Life for the past four years.
“Everyone knows at least somebody who has been affected by cancer. Relay For Life is a way for hundreds of people to come together and celebrate and honor those people; to raise awareness so there doesn’t have to be anymore cancer stories,” said Lowe.
If you have yet to register for the Relay For Life event this year, you can sign up by visiting www.relayforlife.org/merrimack.
If you are interested in joining the Live To Give committee responsible for planning this event, you can attend the weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 7 pm in the 3rd Floor Lounge or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.