By Samantha Crawford and Casey Gale
Rider’s annual fight against cancer gathered more than 800 students in the Student Recreation Center on April 5 to dance, stay up all night and raise more than $32,000.
Relay for Life is a way for communities across the globe to honor cancer survivors, remember lost loved ones and continue the fight against the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.
Team Olaf and Beauties and the Bros were just some of the teams who participated. Chris Mari Davis, a junior human resources management major and Relay for Life co-chair, said that the event committee looked forward to the Rider community’s participation in the Disney-themed event.
“When the committee came together to decide the theme, the new Disney movie Frozen had just come out and was very popular among many students, especially committee members,” he said. “When one of our committee members came up with the ‘When you wish upon a cure’ slogan, it was too perfect to pass up.”
Mari Davis said the night consisted of events structured by the American Cancer Society as well as original Rider activities. Zumba, Disney bingo and other activities ensured students stayed awake throughout the night into the next morning.
“Our event coordinators put together a bunch of performances by Rider students,” Davis said. “Some of the groups are The Rider Vibes, The Deaf Tones and various others.”
The Luminaria Ceremony is one of the most emotional aspects of Relay for Life. The ceremony is meant to “help us remember those that passed away from cancer,” Davis said.
“We turn off all of the lights, and we have the luminaria bags which are purchased to honor someone who has passed away from or currently has cancer,” he said.
“The ceremony made me think of the people that I knew who passed away from cancer, so it was really emotional and other people felt very emotional at that point as well,” said Deborah McFetridge, a freshman marketing major.
During the Luminaria Ceremony, many participants cried in reaction to seeing the names written on each bag.
Hannah Bass, a sophomore elementary education major and Relay for Life committee member, said that her first time at the event was memorable.
“I enjoyed the opportunity to work with such an amazing group of students and create such an amazing event,” she said. “Being my first Relay for Life, I didn’t know what to expect. Now that I have experienced such a magical atmosphere, I look forward to next year.”
Alexa Caplinger, a sophomore business major, feels that it’s important for students to participate in Relay for Life.
“Everybody knows someone who has been taken by cancer or someone who is suffering from cancer,” Caplinger said. “By doing Relay for Life, you know you are making a difference in the world.”
Caplinger said that she hopes everyone works toward ridding the world of cancer.
“I think everyone should do Relay for Life because cancer never sleeps, and Relay for Life could be one of the best experiences of your life,” said Caplinger. “Everyone wants to work together to help prevent this from happening in the future and to find a cure and have more birthdays.”