Every step counts
UB students raise money to participate in this year’s Relay for Life event
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 7, 2013 21:03
Last April’s Relay For Life event raised approximately $85,000 for cancer research. This year, participants hope to raise $150,000.
The 24-hour event is taking place on April 12 at 6 p.m. and goes until April 13 at 6 a.m. in Alumni Arena. Since the day last year’s relay ended, the executive board and committee members have been working to plan for Relay 2013. The student-run event works with an American Cancer Society staff partner to execute the event.
According to Julie Smith, the adviser to the executive board, this is the eighth year UB has been involved with the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life.
In previous years, the national Relay for Life campaign raised $23.4 million on 467 college campuses. Last year, over 600,000 survivors along with 3 million participants walked tracks nationwide to raise money for cancer.
Because “caner never sleeps,” Relay for Life is an overnight event. Teams walk around a track for 24 hours to raise money for multiple types of cancer research.
Yasmine El-Gohary, a senior anthropology major, is vice president of UB Against Cancer and co-chair of the Relay For Life event. The committee has been planning this year’s event since the summer.
Each board member is in charge of overseeing different committees to make sure everything is properly planned. El-Gohary’s position is to oversee the activities and entertainment committee for the event. This includes the Luminaria – a candle light vigil held to honor those who lost their lives to cancer – and ceremonies committees.
“I work closely with those chairs and advise them,” El-Gohary said. “I was the activities and entertainment chair for two years so I know that area well. At Relay itself, the executive board works on engaging everyone in the room. We make sure people are happy, [we] get feedback and solve problems.”
Currently, 50 teams have signed up to participate in Relay For Life this year. The teams consist of a total of 350 participants and they have already raised $15,334. Last year’s event had approximately 1,500 participants on the night of the event.
“Naturally, we reach out to a lot of sponsors,” El-Gohary said. “But mainly we are focusing on getting the teams engaged and encouraging them to start fundraising now and get creative with their events. Spreading the word about Relay is the key to gaining more participants and that’s done by organizing said events and asking for donations.”
The committees are working hard to raise staff involvement by sending out invitations. They are also turning to staff members and professors who have previously participated and are encouraging them to attend as well.
UB Relay For Life, as well as UB Against Cancer, has hosted multiple events to raise money for its cause including raffles, bake sales, pancake sales and clothing sales, according to Megan Rosen, secretary to the executive board and junior biological sciences major. Rosen has been involved with Relay since she was 17.
Team members are encouraged to fundraise individually for the event as well as create team fundraisers. Phi Alpha Delta, a co-ed pre-law fraternity, held an event last Saturday at The U, located near UB’s North Campus, which raised $1,318 for the event.
Upcoming events include a variation of March Madness – called Race to Electricity – in which teams will register and advance in the “tournament” by fundraising. The final four, semi-final and “relay champion” will win prizes, be crowned at the closing ceremony and awarded with a surprise.
They are using every outlet possible to get students involved and engaged in the cause. Students and staff members who are looking to participate in the event or create a team can do so at relayforlife.org/ubny.