By Amar Kapadia
Rider’s annual Relay For Life hopes to encourage more participation as it enters its fourth year by changing the time of the event from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m., Lindsay Galbraith, Relay For Life chair said.
“Last year we had about 1,000 participants and we would like even more this year,” Galbraith said. “We hope that with changing the time frame, it will work out better schedule wise and encourage [the participants] to stay the whole night. It’s not required, but my committee has been working so hard to make Relay more interactive this year and having entertainment the whole night.”
Relay For Life is an overnight walk-a-thon that aims to raise money and awareness of cancer’s far-reaching affects. It begins Saturday, March 24 in the Student Recreation Center.
Dan Judin, a senior advertising major, said that it was seeing his aunt’s struggle with pancreatic cancer that brought him to participate in Relay For Life.
“It was hard to see her go through that and I wanted to help raise awareness for such a horrible disease,” he said. “My aunt has since passed away and now I relay in her memory.”
The event raised $60,000 last year and about $150,000 over the last 3 years, Galbraith said.
“Relay For Life has made a tremendous impact in its first three years and we are expecting nothing less this year,” she said.
There is a current count of more than 600 participants spread out over approximately 60 teams, according to Rider’s Relay For Life site.
Entertainment, food, games and on-site fundraising will happen all night long. Highlights for the evening include the Miss Rider Relay Pageant, which is a traditional beauty pageant, but the contestants are male team members in drag; a performance by Erik Krieg, the winner of the R Factor; a comedy show by Cristela Alonzo; and an a cappella performance by Westminster Choir College’s DeafTones.
Relay for Life began in the 1980s in Tacoma, Washington. It was started by Dr. Gordy Klatt to benefit the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. The idea since then has spread across the nation, according to Relay For Life’s official website.
Galbraith said the monetary donations from Relay help fight cancer.
“Every dollar raised gets us closer and closer to a cure,” Galbraith said. “Thousands and thousands are diagnosed with cancer every single day. The more we fight, the better the chance of finding a cure.”
Tiffany Reyes, a freshman arts administration major, said it is important for students to be involved with Relay.
“I believe since this is such a good cause everyone should be willing to donate even if it is not that much money,” she said. “Every dollar counts. It isn’t just a chance to help others, but it is also a chance to feel good about yourself. Donating money is a good deed and it is a great feeling knowing you could be saving a life.”
Galbraith said that cancer has a huge impact on people’s lives, whether they have lost their battle with it, survived it or witnessed a loved one experience it.
“Rider Relay really helps bring our whole community together for a common cause,” Galbraith said.
For more information about Relay For Life, students can like the “Rider University Relay For Life” Facebook page or log on to www.relayforlife.com/rideruniversity.