Relay 2014
(left to right) Anthony Cona, Caitlin Houlihan, Karen Borst, and Alyssa Mann at Relay for Life 2014. (Photo by William Biersack)

by Victoria Wresilo

Mount Saint Mary College (MSMC) fundraised nearly $40,000 for the American Cancer Society at the 5th annual Relay for Life on Friday, March 28.

According to the Relay for Life website, 38 teams and 405 people participated. Together they raised $38,099.

However, the Relay for Life Chair of this year’s event, Anthony Cona, estimates a grand total of $47,000 in donations.

“We announced a rough estimate of about $47,000 at the conclusion of Relay,” said Cona. “The official amount won’t be up on the website for a bit because all of the offline donations have to be put in by hand.”

Relay ended at 6 a.m. on March 29. The event ran for a total of 12 hours, starting at 6 p.m. the night before.

To keep everyone entertained throughout the night, the Relay for Life Committee put on a series of events based around the theme of games.

The night started with opening speeches from different speakers, one speech was given by Cona who spoke about his experience with Relay.

“Each event or activity that happens brings in a different flood of emotions and feelings,” Cona said. “The event as a whole is my favorite event on Mount Saint Mary College Campus.”

Although Cona does not have one specific favorite part of Relay, some students do.

Senior Jessica Cowell said her favorite part of the night is the Luminaria ceremony.

“At this time, everyone becomes on,” said Cowell. “We stop worrying about small dramas and take a moment to remember those we lost, those who are still fighting, and those who survived cancer.”

The Luminaria Ceremony according to the Relay for Life website lets “donors remember loved ones lost to cancer and honor those battling the disease by dedicating a luminaria.”

During the Luminaria Ceremony, paper bags are decorated and lit up by a votive or, in MSMC’s case, a glow stick placed inside of the bag.

Why people make a Luminaria or decide to join Relay in the first place all depends on their experiences with cancer.

For some, Relay helps them remember their loved ones who have lost their battle to cancer.

“I relay in memory of my grandparents, for those who fought and have survived cancer, and for those still fighting today,” Cowell said.

Others participate in Relay because they have had the disease.

“I relay to fight cancer because I grew up with the disease,” Cona said. “I was five years old when I got sick and I grew up knowing it. I do it so that no one has to be as sick as I was and that this century can be cancer’s last century.

Relay for Life is an event that goes on all over the country raising money for The American Cancer Society.

“The American Cancer Society has been a huge part of my life for many years. Not only is Relay a great cause, but it is fun as well,” said Cowell.

For more information about Relay for Life and how you can get involved, visit relayforlife.org.