By Holly Shanahan ’18
April 7 marks the next Relay for Life event at Merrimack, taking place in the MPR. Janelle Engrem and other event chairs of the organization have been working hard all fall semester long in raising funds to support the American Cancer Society. The money raised will go to cancer research, 24/7 patient supports, and programs for early detection and prevention.
For nine years, Merrimack has participated in the event. Typically, 600 Merrimack students raise money while participating. This year, Relay For Life expects the turn out to be closer to 750 students, as Merrimack’s student body has grown. Merrimack faculty participates in the event as well.
“We have a team of faculty that run on a separate track for twenty-four hours. They begin at 6:00a.m. on Friday and stop at 6:00a.m. on Saturday morning when we all stop walking. Also, there is a team of twenty-five survivors that have been attending the event and survivor reception every year,” said Janelle Engrem.
Many groups hold fundraisers during the event. The rugby team raises funds with their “jail” where attendees can pay $3.00 to “send a friend to jail.” This person can either pay $5.00 to get out of jail, or wait 20 minutes. Other teams will be selling “I Hate Cancer” t-shirts and running bake sales.
“As a school, we have held many fundraisers. Some of our most popular are our cornhole tournament, the purple toilet, and big prize bingo. Now I know what you’re thinking, purple toilet, what is that?” said Engrem. “We have a legitimate toilet that we painted purple and it’s on wheels, thanks to Brianna Decina and Sam Colangelo! It travels to different faculty and staff members’ offices. It costs $3.00 to get rid of the toilet and $5.00 to send it to someone else. A lot of the faculty love doing it as a joke. It’s also fun for us because we get to bring the toilet to some of our professors, too.”
According to Engrem, fundraising has been a hit so far this school year. The group recently raised $375 from selling hot dogs on campus. Their total is at $1,550 so far.
“Our goal this year is to raise $65,000 which would be the most amount in Merrimack’s history. Last year we came in third place for money raised per capita and this was across the whole country!” said Engrem.
To get involved, students can sign up by visiting relayforlife.org/merrimack. The Relay For Life committee meets Tuesday nights at 8:00p.m. in Stevens Auditorium. New members are always welcome and encouraged to join or start a new team as well. The committee plans the event and puts together activities and fundraisers through the year.