More than 1,400 Rensselaer students, faculty, staff, their families, and members of the surrounding community participated in Rensselaer’s fifth Relay For Life event April 23-24 on ’86 Field. The opening and welcome remarks were delivered by Rensselaer students and members of the campus community. Featured speakers included: Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson; Adam Gold ’10, Relay For Life event chair; Chelsey Hochmuth ’11, Relay For Life co-chair, and Alicia Romac, a melanoma survivor.
This year, members of the Rensselaer Greek Life community, along with student athletes and others from the Rensselaer community, raised nearly $86,000 (and counting). During the opening ceremony, President Jackson announced that she would donate $3,000 to support the initiative. Rensselaer’s fundraising goal set by the American Cancer Society is $100,000. Since its inception, Rensselaer has raised nearly half a million dollars to support patient services, research, education, and advocacy.
“This is the biggest event on our campus, and it always amazes me to see all the people in our community that have been affected by cancer,” said Gold. “What’s even more amazing is knowing that with their support we truly are making a difference.”
Prior to the start of the overnight event, many of the participants had already set up camp, and several dozen tents and canopies lined the ’86 Field perimeter. More than 90 participating teams walked or ran laps around the field in an effort to raise cancer awareness, raise funds, and celebrate survivorship. The event also featured a Luminaria Ceremony, a candlelight vigil in honor of family and friends who have faced cancer. During the ceremony, more than 300 illuminated white decorated bags lined the track as a poem of remembrance was read, followed by a moment of silence. Remarks were delivered by Amanda Webber, a caregiver.
In addition, members of the Rensselaer student organization Colleges Against Cancer hosted a haircut drive during the event as part of the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign an effort that encourages people to grow, cut, and donate their healthy hair to make free wigs for women who have lost their hair due to cancer treatment. Partial proceeds were also donated to the American Cancer Society.
“Every penny raised goes toward the fight against cancer, and RPI is a champion in that fight,” said Tracy Allen, manager of special events, Relay For Life. “I could not be more proud to be a staff partner to the students who planned the event and their faculty adviser. They, along with the event attendees, are a true testament to the impact a community can make when they work together. Eleven million cancer survivors will celebrate a birthday this year and it is because of communities like RPI.”
The 2010 Relay For Life event was organized by a 30-member committee made up of Rensselaer students, a Rensselaer employee, and the American Cancer Society.
Donations for Rensselaer’s Relay 2010 will be accepted through Aug. 31. For more information, go to www.relayforlife.org/RPI.
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