Colleges Against Cancer Begins Relay For Life

A shirt with the Relay for Life logo and their purple campaign. Photo by James Miranda/The Pace Chronicle.

A shirt with the Relay for Life logo and their purple campaign. Photo by James Miranda/The Pace Chronicle.

James Miranda and Joseph Tucci

Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) hosted the Relay for Life kickoff event last Wed., Feb. 24 in Gottesman room of Pace University’s Kessel Student Center to prepare students for the main event later in the semester.

The kickoff event started off with a slideshow explaining the mission of CAC and the American Cancer Society, highlighting last year’s Relay for Life, and educating people on campaigns such as the “Make the Campus Purple,” where students cover their campuses in purple, which is the color of Relay for Life, in order to raise awareness about the event. 

“[Relay started with a] doctor who wanted to find a way to see what it was like to have cancer, so he ran around a track for 24 hours,” CAC member and sophomore Ethan Besas said “The next year, his friend joined him along with a bunch of other people and did the same thing, [in order too] raise money, and fund research and education programs to hopefully beat cancer.”

Attendees then wrote down the reason they fight cancer. Some of these reasons included their family members, friends, justice, to prevent grief, and to end cancer.

The event capped off with a scaled down version of their Luminaria ceremony—a moment where people put a glow stick inside a bag and have a moment of silence. Luminaria bags are decorated and collected throughout the year and are used for the actual event for a guest speaker who has lost someone to cancer.

“It’s a very sad moment,” said Antonietta Dalia, CAC president. “After the speaker’s done, we take all the Luminaria bags that were created in memory of whoever, we crack and put in the lanterns, turn the lights off, and everyone walks a lap in silence and in memory of all [the] deceased.”

The actual Relay for Life event will take place on April 22. The 12-hour “fair” will be held in Goldstein Fitness Center. Teams sign up and partake in events such as walking laps around Goldstein’s track and the Survivor’s Dinner, where cancer survivors are treated to a dinner.

“[During the event] we decorate the [VIP room in Goldstein] and we have gifts for survivors like little pillows,” said Nicole Swerdloff, co-chair for Relay for Life.

Teams are formed by members of Pace’s various clubs or organizations.

“I’ve been lucky enough to never experience losing someone to cancer, but I’ve had close friends who have had some scares, that’s why I relay for life, so we can beat it,” said Eric Medina-Rivera, member of team Alpha Chi Roe.

Pace raised $42,095 at last year’s event and 100 percent of the donations went to cancer societies. The goal is to raise over $60,000 for this year’s event.¡

CAC has made an effort to extend beyond just Pace. They have been trying to get local shops and schools in Pleasantville to come and take part, along with family members of participating students.