Relay for Life raises awareness, funds with Breast Week Ever

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St. Mary’s was adorned with the color pink the first week of October in honor of the Breast Week Ever and the National Breast Cancer Awareness month. The Breast Week Ever, sponsored by the St. Mary’s Relay for Life committee, was a week of fundraising and activities in order to raise awareness for cancer.

According to Relay for Life Co-Chair  sophomore Teresa Padgett, Relay for Life is a 12-hour fundraising event for the American Cancer Society, raising money to support cancer research and awareness, as well as to support the needs of those fighting cancer, cancer survivors, and caregivers. This year’s event will take place from March 2 at 6pm to March 3 at 6am in the Michael P O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center. During Relay, at least one team member from each team – a group of people working together to raise money – must be walking at all times.  However, walking is not the only attraction.

“There will be fundraisers going on throughout the night ranging anywhere from Zumba to date auctions to a ‘Miss Relay Pageant,’” said Padgett. In addition, each individual team has their own fundraising events, “including tables with hairwraps, baked goods, and housing raffles.“ Relay for Life Chair junior Colleen Hughes noted that many teams and departments on campus get involved in Relay, including the equestrian team, the field hockey team, and the Psychology Department faculty, among others.

The Breast Week Ever was Relay for Life’s kickoff fundraiser. Despite the fact that the main event is in March, fundraising is done year-round in order to raise as much money and create as much awareness as possible. “It’s been said before that ‘relay never sleeps’ and I would say that is definitely the case,“ said Padgett.

Those Relay for Life members participating in the Breast Week Ever fundraiser tabled outside of the Great Room for the week, helping students sign up to be a participant in Relay and collecting donations in exchange for bracelets, pencils, magnets, ribbons, and other Relay for Life paraphernalia. Hughes commented that the whole event was to try to promote relay and get people interested, “We’re trying to drum up excitement and push for registration.” In addition to tabling outside the Great Room, the Relay for Life committee collaborated with Bon Appetit. “I don’t know if everyone made the connection,” said Hughes, “But they made pink desserts for us,” including whoopee pies with pink filling and ribbon shaped cookies. The Relay for Life was also represented in the Pep Rally on Oct. 5.

The biggest event of the week was the “Pink Out,” which encouraged as many people on campus as possible to wear pink on Thursday. “We then took pictures of participants on the campus center patio” said Padgett, “some of which are in the shape of the Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon.”

Relay For Life committee member junior Katie McGinnis helped to table outside of the Great Room periodically during the Breast Week Ever. She noted that Relay for Life is still a relatively new thing on campus. Last year, according to Padgett, there were 30 teams with a total of 225 participants, and over $32,000 was raised for the American Cancer Society. The committee’s biggest goal is to expand the event in order to have more participants and raise more money. “Every year is bigger and better,” said McGinnis.

All money raised for both Relay for Life and the Breast Week Ever will go to the American Cancer Society. Any student or faculty interesting in participating or helping coordinate the Relay for Life, or anyone who would like to find out more information, is encouraged to email Colleen Hughes at cshughes@smcm.edu.

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