The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Relay for Life raises over $10,000 for cancer research

Ricki Blaustein ‘25 used her fundraising experience to help improve this year’s Relay for Life. (Photo courtesy of @piphilafayette on Instagram)

When Ricki Blaustein ‘25 was young, her father was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Ever since then, her family has been especially active in raising money for cancer research.

Last Friday, with the help of the Student Movement Against Cancer and Alpha Phi Omega (APO), Blaustein raised over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society (ACS) at this year’s Relay for Life.

“I think [Relay for Life] is just a really great cause to bring pretty much the whole campus together,” Blaustein said. “I honestly didn’t realize how many people cared about cancer research until we held the event.”

When Blaustein attended the Relay for Life event last year, organized by APO, she realized she could utilize her fundraising experience to make the event even more successful.

“When we did it last year we did it a lot smaller,” Samantha Hargadon ‘25, vice president of APO, said. “Ricki wanted to take it to a bigger scale, so we gave her the reins.” 

Like last year, this Relay for Life did not feature much walking due to the hot weather, so instead, participants were treated to popcorn and ice cream along with games of volleyball and cornhole.

“Everybody was just smiling, enjoying the weather,” Olivia Hofmann ‘24, a member of APO who volunteered at the event, said. “We had a lot of silly activities like tattoos and stickers.”

Relays for Life typically have participants walking around a track for 24 hours, which is something the organizers hope to incorporate more next year.

“That’s the relay aspect,” Hofmann said. “It’s not a race. I see it as more about [team members] trading on walking to symbolize the twenty-four-hour, constant fight of people undergoing cancer treatment.”

Towards the end of the evening, the mood shifted to one of reflection and remembrance as participants lit candles in the Luminaria ceremony. Participants were invited to create Luminarias, or decorative lanterns, by writing and drawing on paper bags in honor of someone they know who is currently fighting cancer, is a cancer survivor or lost the battle to cancer. Then, during the ceremony, the bags were arranged in neat rows on the steps of Farinon Student Center and lit up from the inside by small tealight candles. 

“[Luminarias] are such a sacred tradition of Relay for Life,” Hofmann said. “It’s amazing to see how many people have been touched by cancer and it really fortifies the impact of the event by putting visually how many people have been impacted by this horrible disease. It motivates us even more to fight.”

“It’s very calming to light [the bags] and be at peace,” Hofmann continued.

This year’s event was primarily funded by the Office of Student Involvement, but Blaustein was also able to get support from ACS’s National Relay for Life Leadership Team and secure a $100 business sponsorship from Milo’s Place.

Despite only having a single business sponsor this year, Blaustein and Hargadon were both confident that next spring, when they ideally run the event again, the team would be better equipped to draw in more businesses.

“Now we know how to get sponsors; we know what forms we have to send,” Blaustein said. “So we’re hopeful that we can get more businesses involved next time.”

In the lead-up to the event, the online donation page amassed over $7,000 in donations, but on Friday alone, the team raised $3,000 more.

“I feel like raising three thousand dollars almost overnight is just a huge mark of success and shows how amazing people on this campus are,” Hofmann said.

Relay for Life is still accepting donations and will continue to do so through the next event.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Elisabeth Seidel, Design Director/Assistant Business Manager
The funniest culture designer.

Comments (0)

If you wish for your response to an article to be submitted as a letter to the editor, please email [email protected].
All Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *