The University hosted Relay for Life in the Byron Center from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Friday.
Over 40 teams registered for Relay this year, collectively raising over $40,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Various activities took place throughout the night as Relay team members came together to honor those who have fought or are fighting cancer.
There are many reasons why people participate in Relay.
“I relay because three of my close friends lost their parents to cancer in our junior year of high school,” Courtney Tampone, a first-year student who is on the Relay committee and is captain of Team Purple, said.
Like Tampone, many participants relay to honor loved ones who have fought or who are fighting cancer. Others relay because they hope to spread awareness and raise money to support a good cause while having fun with their friends.
A dunk tank was set up outside the DeNaples Center prior to Relay’s kickoff. People could donate any amount of money they wanted for a chance to dunk someone in the dunk tank. The proceeds collected from the dunk tank went to Relay for Life.
Relay for Life participants were able to set up their campsites in the Byron Center around 5 p.m. Various teams set up tables around the Relay track, advertising food, drinks, t-shirts and games to other participants in order raise extra money at the event. Some of the tables included a Rita’s ice table, a decorate your own cupcake table and a “dab on cancer” game, in which participants had to dab as many times as they could in 30 seconds.
A raffle table was also set up along the track. Relay participants could spend $1 for one raffle ticket, $3 for five tickets or $10 for 15 tickets. Some of the raffle prizes included Bath and Body Works lotion sets, a Smart TV and an iPad mini.
Also set up in the Byron was a bounce house and a photo booth.
Opening ceremonies began around 5:30 p.m. Rev. Richard Malloy, the vice president of the University Mission, led the participants in prayer at the beginning of the opening ceremonies.
Catherine Richmond-Cullen, Ed.D., then delivered a speech about her personal battle with lung cancer. She discussed the various angels in her life who helped her during her battle. One of the main messages she wanted the audience to take away from her speech was that “God’s path is always perfect.”
Cancer survivors and their caregivers were then asked to take the first lap around the track to officially kick off Relay.
Throughout the rest of the night, Relay participants could walk the track or participate in one of the various activities put on by the Relay for Life committee. A tug of war competition took place early in Relay (with the Urban Beats Dance Crew team winning the entire competition). Later, knock out competitions, Zumba and a lip sync battle took place.
Relay’s luminaria ceremony took place at 9 p.m. During the luminaria ceremony, Relay participants take time to remember those who are fighting or have fought cancer. Up to the luminaria ceremony, individuals could buy a luminaria bag that they could decorate to honor loved ones and their battle with cancer. For the ceremony, the luminaria bags were placed around the track and lit by tealights.
During the ceremony, The University’s Men and Women for Octaves group performed “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara, and “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth.
The University’s Urban Beats Crew and Royal Signers also performed at the event. Urban Beats Crew performed a dance to “Calling All Angels” by Train. The Royal Signers signed “Jealous of the Angels” by Donna Taggart.
Relay concluded at 5 a.m. with its closing ceremony.