Relay for Life aims for third top finish

By Rachel Stengel

Rider is revving up for another successful Relay for Life on Saturday, March 26 and is looking to be the top performer for the third year running, according to Event Chair junior Lindsay Galbraith.

Students participating in Relay for Life last year rest in their designated spaces in the SRC as their teammates continue walking. This year, Relay for Life will be held in the SRC on March 26.

Relay for Life is an overnight walkathon created by the American Cancer Society. Rider has earned the distinction of “Top Performing College Relay in New Jersey” from the American Cancer Society two years in a row. Rider has raised more than $100,000 for Relay for Life since 2009.

Galbraith said she hopes Rider gains the same distinction this year.

“We set the bar high for ourselves, but we plan on keeping that banner hanging in the SRC again this year,”she said.

Organizations around campus develop relay teams. At the event, teams have a designated space in the SRC. At least one member from each team must always be walking on the track.

According to Relay for Life’s website, “The events are held overnight to represent the fact that cancer never sleeps.”

There is entertainment throughout the night, including Bronc Bingo, dance performances and a few surprises.

“We actually have some surprises that I’m very excited about,” Galbraith said. “All I’m going to say on that note is you are not going to want to miss out.”

The Miss Rider Relay Pageant is a fan favorite at the event. Each team nominates a male member to participate in a drag queen contest. It runs like a typical pageant — contestants perform a talent and answer questions. The winner is determined through a final contest: participants must gather the most money with their donation bag. The contestant who raises the most money wins.

“Relay for Life’s motto is ‘Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back,’” Galbraith explained. “We celebrate those who have won their fight against cancer, remember those we lost and fight back against this terrible disease. Cancer affects everyone.”

Relay for Life strives to spread cancer awareness. Survivors will speak about their own experiences with the disease. Survivors present at the event will be wearing purple shirts to identify themselves as “heroes of hope.” They are the inspiration for those currently battling cancer, said Galbraith.

A luminaria service honors loved ones who have been diagnosed with cancer. The track is lined with bags filled with glow sticks as the lights are dimmed. The bags serve as a reminder of how many people have been affected by this deadly disease.

“[The] relay will work up a lot of your emotions,” said Galbraith. “We laugh together, we cry together and we fight together.”

Graduate student Kelly Dissinger will be participating in Relay for Life for the first time as a leader.

“When I was 3, I lost my grandma to breast cancer,” she said. “Since then, I’ve been determined to do whatever I can to give others the opportunity to beat cancer and get to have more time with their families.”

Galbraith hopes that through the monetary efforts of the relay a cure for cancer will finally be discovered.

“Hopefully, down the line, we won’t have a relay like this anymore,” explained Galbraith. “We still have a relay, but we will just celebrate and remember because we already fought back and won.”

Students who wish to participate in Rider’s 2011 Relay for Life can sign up at www.relayforlife.org/rideruniversity.

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