Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 9, May 11, 2012
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Mark Century

A Night To Remember: Seventh Annual Relay For Life

  Relay for Life

A Night To Remember:
Seventh Annual Relay For Life

More than 1,100 members of the Rensselaer community, along with family and friends, participated in the seventh annual Relay For Life event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society. The overnight event was held in the Alumni Sports & Recreation Center (Armory) April 27-28. The Relay For Life is a community event that celebrates the lives of cancer survivors and remembers those who have lost their battle with the devastating disease. The theme that Rensselaer has selected for 2012 is an Olympian theme as a way to “torch a light for more birthdays.”

“This year, we worked to get more campus involvement and we have seen more success in achieving this,” said Brian Nock, a senior majoring in civil engineering, who also served as this year’s Relay For Life chair. “In planning for and celebrating the seventh annual Relay For Life event, we are excited to continue igniting the RPI community. We are a campus community. The event is organized by a committee of over 30 students, and it has been fun for me to push this group to think critically and develop a thorough plan for the event. We really want to share the experience with faculty, administrators, staff, and their families and friends. This is a fight that we cannot take on alone and win.”

This year, members of the campus community—including Greek Life, student-athletes, student clubs, faculty, staff, and others—joined forces to raise nearly $93,500 (and counting) for cancer research. Committee members hope to raise $110,000. More than 85 participating teams walked or ran laps around the Armory track in an effort to increase cancer awareness, raise funds, and celebrate survivorship.

The opening ceremony featured remarks from President Shirley Ann Jackson and George Plopper, professor of biology. Rensselaer student Suman Patnaik, a junior majoring in electronic media, arts, and communication, also spoke and shared her experiences of surviving a leukemia diagnosis.

According to the American Cancer Society, each year more than one million people receive a cancer diagnosis. In addition, the organization estimates that about one out of every two American men and one out of every three American women will have some type of cancer at some point in their lifetime. 

In the past year, residents in the Capital Region have been able to reap the rewards of the Relay For Life efforts, which include free rides for cancer patients to treatment appointments, hats and scarves, and assistance from the American Cancer Society for information about diagnosis, treatment, support services, financial assistance, or other services. In addition, nearly $2.5 million comes to Capital Region researchers through four active cancer research grants, according to the American Cancer Society, which is known as the largest private funder of cancer research in the United States.

The overall event is organized by a 36-member committee made up of Rensselaer students from the Greek Life community, the Colleges Against Cancer organization, Athletics, others from the campus community, and a staff member from the American Cancer Society.

Last year’s Relay For Life event had more than 1,300 participants and raised $103,000. Since its inception, Rensselaer has raised more than half a million dollars to support patient services, research, education, and advocacy within the Capital Region.

For more information about Relay For Life 2012, visit

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, Number, May 11, 2012
©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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