University Community Walks All Night to Raise Money in Fight Against Cancer
From 6 p.m. on April 18 through 6 a.m. on April 19, students, faculty and staff will come together for a common goal: fighting cancer through Relay for Life, an overnight walk-a-thon. Participants will walk around the Dome turf to raise money to find a cure for cancer.
The Relay for Life committee is comprised of students from SU and ESF who work with a liaison from the American Cancer Society. This committee works all year long, planning and making arrangements to make Relay successful.
“We remember those we have lost, we celebrate those who have survived and we honor the fighters who are still battling,” says Lynne Mowers from SU Food Services, who assists student organizers. “Cancer never sleeps. That’s why we walk overnight.”
Throughout the night there will be bands, dance groups and entertainers performing for the relay participants. There are raffles for things such as lottery tickets, gift certificates, gift baskets and more, with all proceeds being donated to the cause. Food and supplies are donated by Syracuse Banana, Sal’s Birdland, Hofmann Hot Dogs, Bimbo Bakery, Frito Lay, Pepsi, Deli Boy and Johnston Paper to keep the walkers fed and hydrated throughout the night. These vendors participate every year, always eager to help the SU/ESF communities.
2015 will be the 13th year for Relay for Life at SU/ESF. The committee, once all Alpha Phi Omega brothers, has grown to include students from all over both campuses and representing several student organizations. Student organizations, residence hall floors, campus departments, fraternities and sororities all get involved by creating teams to walk. Each team pledges to keep one team member walking throughout the night.
Relay starts with a survivor lap, and all the rest of the participants cheer on the survivors. Following that, everyone starts to walk and will keep walking throughout the night. There is a Luminaria Ceremony at 10 p.m. during which namesof victims, survivors and people currently fighting cancer are read. This event is the most solemn part of Relay.
The first Relay for Life was held in 2003 in Manley Field House. It was brought to campus and sponsored by Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity in recognition of Shannon Garrison, a graduating brother who was a cancer survivor. Forty teams participated in the first Relay, and it grew from there. By the third Relay in 2005, the event barely fit into Manley. The next year, it was moved to the Carrier Dome.
There is still time to register a team or join a team. For people who want to support Relay but can’t attend that day, online donations are gratefully accepted. The website for the SU/ESF Relay for Life is www.relayforlife.org/syracuseuniversityny.