Suiting up for the fight against cancer

By Emily Klingman and Paige Ewing

Hundreds of Rider students will be standing up to cancer and showing their support for Relay for Life by walking laps in the Student Recreation Center or campus mall and participating in the events that surround the walk.

With this year’s Relay for Life walk happening on Saturday, March 25, at 6 p.m., “relayers” are still raising money and asking more students to join the event. During the event, team members take turns walking around a track or designated path. Rider has hosted Relay for Life events since 2009 and has raised over $400,000 toward the cause.

Students across Rider participate in Relay in teams which reflect all parts of Rider including Greek Life, academic teams such as the School of Education, athletic teams such as Rider Club Lacrosse, and even teams based on residence halls. So far, the Alpha Phi Omega team has raised the most for this year’s event, raising just over $1,600, and Rider in total has raised over $16,500 so far.

In addition, all different campus organizations will be performing this year. In the past, groups like the Dance Team and Rider Vibes have performed. Onsite fundraisers will also be happening during Relay, which includes Zumba classes taught during the event.

Throughout the event, each lap has a theme, including a lap for those surviving and fighting cancer, caregivers and a lap to those who have passed away from cancer. Lexie Livesey, the committee chair of the Luminarias lap, explained how one lap is dedicated to those who have passed away.

“The Luminarias lap is a special lap that happens during the middle of Relay in which we honor those who we have lost to cancer” she said. “The track is lit up by decorated luminaria bags, and participants complete the lap silently.”

Ryleigh Honig, the co-chair of the event this year, is amazed by the power of the event.

“I love seeing the entire campus have fun and help fight cancer for a night,” said Honig. “Rider’s Relay for Life has become one of the biggest events on campus over the past few years, and we have raised a ton of money for this amazing cause. It has truly been the highlight of my college experience and I love being a part of this committee.”

Cancer is one disease where almost everyone knows someone who has been affected. With Relay for Life, however the Rider community is joining together to combat the disease affecting over 12 million people. Rider is working with the American Cancer Society, which has raised $5 billion for cancer research.

“Relay has a huge impact on college campuses because college is full of diverse groups of people,” said fundraising chair Rushil Jain. “So many people who come from different backgrounds and different priorities. It’s a way for everyone to come together and raise money together while having fun.”

Jain is personally connected to the event through her family’s history of cancer. After seeing her mother break down at the deaths of her parents and brother, she knew she needed to do something to help fight the disease. She “relays” so her future family doesn’t have to worry about any cancerous genes that she most likely has.

Aside from the huge charitable impact, one of Jain’s favorite parts of Relay for Life is towards the very end, when everyone is tired and a little slaphappy.

“I’m looking forward to the last 3 hours of relay because that is when everyone is so tired that we usually have the most fun,” she said. “My friends and I have a huge dance party and we just have a great time.”

“The true beauty of the moment is that you can hug each other and cry for those you have lost, but you then rise up together to finish this fight against cancer,” said Livesey.

Registration runs up until the event and anyone can register on the Relay for Life website for the Rider University event at http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RFLCY17EA?pg=entry&fr_id=79341

Additional reporting by Megan Lupo.

Originally printed in the 3/22/17 edition. 

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