Relay for Life fundraiser ties up Dennis Black

Students tape university official to a wall to raise money


Dennis Black hadn’t ever been taped to a wall before this past Friday.

On Feb. 13, Relay for Life held a fundraiser in the Student Union lobby for the American Cancer Society. Students paid $1 for a piece of tape to hold the vice president for University Life and Services to the wall for an hour.

Students also could buy baked goods to help the cause. The event was held to kickoff fundraising for Relay for Life’s main event inside Alumni Arena on April 24.

The main Relay for Life event will run inside Alumni Arena from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on April 25, and teams can walk around the track, sing songs and participate in other activities to fundraise money.

The club raises money through smaller events leading up to the 24-hour relay.

“It was pretty easy for me to say yes [to being taped to the wall],” Black said as students piled blue tape onto him. “I’ll spend an hour helping raise money to fight cancer.”

Kelsey Clark, a senior exercise science major and president and event chair of Relay for Life, yelled through a microphone to encourage students to donate by taping the university official down.

“It doesn’t matter how big or how small your contribution is, it really makes a difference,” said Megan Austen, a junior nursing student who volunteers with Relay for Life. “It’s just a great feeling. You feel like you’ve done something good.”

Kaeleigh Nissen, a senior biology major and the activities, entertainment and sponsorships chair of Relay for Life, said the club got the idea from Pinterest, where they saw a high school had done the same thing.

In the past, Relay for Life has done a “Bowling for Boobs” fundraiser and a kickball tournament entitled “Save Second Base,” which were both smaller events leading up to the main fundraiser in April.

Nissen said students seem to be more “into” taping Black to the wall than past fundraisers.

Nissen joined the organization three years ago when a friend’s father died of cancer. She said all the money from Friday’s fundraiser would be donated at the end of April after the main event.

“One of the things the money goes to is helping with lodging for people who have to stay away from home for cancer treatment,” Nissen said. “The good thing though, is that everything we raise actually stays in the Buffalo area.”

The organization tabled last week in Student Union 145B to give students information about Relay for Life and how they can get involved. It also gave first-time teams participating in the main event a chance to see what the campsites will look like, what they need to bring and more info about the performances they hold throughout the night.

Clark said it’s her goal to get more faculty and student clubs involved in events to create more of a community. She said she wants everyone, from freshmen to seniors, to be involved.

Clark lost her father to cancer when she was 9 years old.

“Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer,” Clark said. “It’s definitely something I’m passionate about and something I don’t want anyone else to have to go through.”

The main Relay for Life event’s theme will be board games and teams will use that theme to create a fundraiser.

Last year, about 200 teams signed up to participate in the event. This year, Clark said she wants more teams to sign up. The organization has fundraised $7,000 of their $85,000 goal. Last year’s goal was $65,000, while the goal was $80,000 in 2013.

“I think that everyone thinks they’re alone when they go through cancer battles, but our committee and Relay for Life is a big cancer fighting family,” Clark said. “It’s just nice to be around so many people that support you and care about you, and it’s a big network of people that you can rely on to help get you through a hard time.”

He added that the lead up and preparation for Relay takes “an entire year” and supporters who come to the even typically stay “an entire 24 hours.”

Black said he enjoys his job not only because he gets to make sure campus events work out, but he also gets to be a part of them – even if that means getting taped to a wall for an hour.