Maggie Reid, Features Editor
This Saturday, April 13, members of Utica College and the community will be staying up all night as part of Relay for Life.
This is UC’s fifth Relay for Life, and members of Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) hope to raise money to put toward a cure for cancer.
The theme this year is board games and CAC members will be wearing Monopoly-themed costumes, while other organizations picked games such as Oregon Trail, Operation and Life.
Relay for Life Co-Chair Liz Gabel has a personal reason why she chose to be a part of Relay for Life.
“Relay is important to me because I lost my grandfather to cancer before I was born,” Gabel said. “Family is the most important thing to me, and even though he is not here, I still strive to make him proud. I don’t want any other child to grow up without their grandparents because of cancer.”
The organization has a goal of how much money they wish to raise, but that was not the only one they had.
“Our first goal was to pray that the dome did not collapse,” Gabel said. “Our second goal is to raise $25,000 for the American Cancer Society.”
Two years ago, a storm during winter break collapsed the Dome, which meant that CAC had to make last-minute preparations to have Relay in the Clark Athletic Center gym.
Although you do not have to stay all night to participate, Gabel had some tips for an all-nighter.
“Last year, to stay awake my friend and I took pictures every hour on the hour,” Gabel said. “It was something to look forward to. However, the best tip I can give is to come well-rested, drink lots of water and bring some healthy snacks.”
CAC treasurer Lyndsey Chenier is excited for this weekend.
“I think that I am looking forward to most for Relay is probably the same as it is every year,” Chenier said. “Being together with so many people who have all in a way been through the same sort of thing and also to see how much money we raised to hand over to American Cancer Society (ACS).”
Chenier got involved with Relay for Life after her mom was diagnosed with cancer.
“Relay for Life is something that is so important to me,” Chenier said. “When I was in high school, my mom was diagnosed with cancer twice and it was really difficult on my family. ACS really helped us out in that time and now my mom is six years cancer-free.”
If you have no plans this weekend, Chenier said you should consider coming out for a fun time and a great cause.
“Everyone should attend,” Chenier said. “It’s so much fun, and most importantly, it’s a lot of money that goes to a great cause. The money we raise goes towards funding cancer research, providing rides to treatments and providing other great services for individuals affected by cancer.”
CAC President Casey Hourican said the entertainment for Relay consists of music from Dolce, The Dovetones, UC Choir, SUNY Poly Music Club; PBS Stroll; a basketball tournament; Kappa Survivor Game; bingo; soccer tournament trivia; a drag performance by Natalie Taylor; and a Zumba class with Jasmine Millner.
She is looking forward to creating awareness and having a successful relay.
“This is our fifth annual Relay For Life and I hope that it is the largest one in attendance that we have ever had,” Hourican said. “Currently, we have reached 200 participants but it will grow most likely by the day of Relay.”
Like Gabel and Chenier, Hourican also has a personal reason why she became involved.
“Relay is important to me because cancer runs in my family, sadly enough,” Hourican said. “My dad had passed away from Stage 4 lung cancer due to 9/11, and he’s the reason why I want to be a counterterrorism officer for the NYPD.”
Relay for Life is a chance for students to come together for a good cause.
“Students should attend Relay because, sadly enough, everyone knows someone that has been affected by cancer,” Hourican said. “This is a community event where we can all share our stories and bond together to raise awareness and raise money for those who are affected. We fight for those who can’t fight and fight for those who are still fighting. “
If you wish to participate in Relay, tickets are $15 at the door.