Kickoff for cancer fundraiser previews main March event

by Emily Landgraf

Getting students excited about the upcoming Relay For Life was the goal of the Jan. 3 kickoff event, held in the Cavalla Room at the end of Leadership Day. The main event, to be held in March, raises funds to fight cancer.

The student leaders and registered team captains for the Relay For Life attended the kickoff rally.
The Relay For Life at Rider is a new event for the community.

“This is the first year for Relay For Life at Rider,” said junior Megan Ptaszenski. “However, we are hoping that it will become a tradition on campus and that it will be present for years to come.”

According to a press release issued by the American Cancer Society (ACS), the Relay For Life kickoff rally is “when families, caregivers, cancer survivors, schools, companies, etc. come together to celebrate the beginning of the Relay For Life season and their particular event.”

Christina Sagge, a spokesperson for the ACS and a Rider graduate, attended and spoke at the rally.

Director of University Communications Cathy Carter Romero also spoke about her experiences with breast cancer and the Relay For Life. A video with clips of survivors and descriptions of the event was shown to inform those present about the main event in March.

Ptaszenski, the production cochair for the Relay For Life at Rider, and her roommates, juniors Heather Fischler and Shannon Baals, have been working to organize the event.

“My roommate Heather really wanted to bring the event to Rider, so I decided to help out,” Ptaszenski said.

The Relay For Life began in 1985 when one man ran around a track for 24 hours and raised about $27,000, according to the ACS press release. The event now takes place in more than 4,500 communities and is expected to raise over $300 million. The ACS hopes that these funds will help medical professionals to combat and eliminate the disease.

The Relay For Life is an overnight event, which will take place from March 28 to 29 this year. The event begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 10 a.m. Teams and individuals will camp out and take turns running around a track “relay style” to raise funds to fight cancer, as well as raise awareness. The event also includes many other activities, such as barbecues and dancing.

“It’s basically one big party,” Ptaszenski said.

There is also a candlelight memorial ceremony in the evening to honor cancer survivors and to remember those who have passed away because of the disease. The theme for this year’s Relay For Life is “Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back.”

Ptaszenski also stated that students interested in participating in the event should contact Shannon Baals at

“Captain meetings start soon, and it’s important that we get the teams organized for the event,” Ptaszenski said.

Students interested in donating to the event or getting more information can visit

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