Hollywood and the support for cancer research will join forces for the Relay for Life of Ithaca College from 2 p.m. March 29 to 2 a.m. March 30 in the Athletics and Events Center.
Relay for Life is an annual event that runs between 12–24 hours on tracks across the country. The event raises money for the American Cancer Society while also honoring those who have fought cancer, are fighting cancer and have lost their battle with the disease.
Ithaca College’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer is hosting an Academy Awards–themed Relay this year, featuring Oscar-related main stage events and about 60 movie-themed activity tables. The American Cancer Society sponsors the annual event.
At this year’s Relay, 91 teams made up of people in the community, including faculty and students from Ithaca College and Cornell University, will participate. According to Ithaca’s event page on the American Cancer Society’s website, this year’s Relay has already raised more than $30,000 and plans to raise more at the event itself. Anyone still interested in donating money to Relay for Life will be able to up until the event and after it at relayforlife.org/ithacacollegeny.
Jeannine Florio, co-president of Colleges Against Cancer at the college, said last year’s event raised a little more than the group’s goal of $60,000, so they set the bar higher for this year, hoping to raise $70,000. Florio said she hopes more students and faculty will attend this year’s Relay.
Last year, she said, not all of the 870 registered participants came to the Relay. The goal for this year is to have at least 600 people attend, she said. So far, the event has 637 participants.
Florio said everyone is affected by cancer, so it is important for as many people to show support as possible.
“There are a great deal of students on campus today who are currently dealing with cancer,” Florio said.
Senior Tasha Dotts is a cancer survivor participating in Relay for Life for the second time, and though the event brings back difficult memories, she said it is important to go.
“It’s a couple hours of my life where I can just be cared about and supported,” Dotts said.
Sara Yagan is a freshman participating in this year’s event. She is also a member of Colleges Against Cancer and a captain of the Ithaca College Swimming and Diving Relay team. Yagan, whose mother is a seven-year cancer survivor, said participating in Relay for Life is a chance to be part of something bigger.
“Having it on a college campus is both very motivating and exciting because it’s a way for people of our generation to make a difference and support something that has affected so many people around the world,” Yagan said.
Relay for Life will have performances by Ithacappella, Voicestream, Premium Blend, the Danbees, Chris Carpenter, IC Circus and many more.
Senior Hannah Sands, president of Premium Blend, said she has been singing with the all-female a cappella group at the event since her freshman year.
“It’s a great partnership to have,” she said. “We look forward to doing it every year.”
Following opening ceremonies, survivors will take to the track to celebrate their battle with cancer. Caregivers will then take a lap to recognize those who have helped take care of someone with cancer.
Later in the evening, Florio said, there will be a luminaria ceremony to remember those who have lost to cancer or to support those still fighting the battle. The money donated from purchasing the $5 luminarias will go to the American Cancer Society.
The fight-back ceremony will showcase the commitment Relay participants make to the fight against cancer, Florio said. In the closing ceremony, Florio and co-president of CAC, Chad McClelland, will announce the official amount of money raised.
Florio said some people are motivated to raise money by the incentives like T-shirts and gifts, but many are driven by another cause.
“Most people participate and raise funds because they want to find the cure so that they don’t have to hear the words ‘You have cancer’ said to themselves or a loved one ever again,” Florio said.