Kaitlyn Tambasco, Assistant News Editor
On Saturday, April 13, students, faculty, staff and community members gathered for this year’s Relay for Life in the dome to help raise money for cancer research.
The event began by honoring everyone who has been affected by cancer, as well as everyone who helped plan this year’s Relay. There was also a luminaria ceremony as lights represented cancer survivors, someone still fighting cancer and those who lost their lives to the disease.
Junior and Vice president of Colleges Against Cancer Kassidy Krenzer is involved in Relay for Life because she herself is a cancer survivor, along with many other members of her family. She said the planning for the event begins months in advance.
“Personally, my original goal was to raise more than $500 as that was what I raised last year,” Krenzer said. “Because I had so much support, I was able to raise over $1,000 for Relay.”
Krenzer said as a whole, CAC wanted to raise more money than last year. The group had many different sales and events that led to CAC raising $24,000.
“Overall, I would say Relay was a huge success, however, I was disappointed that more student groups didn’t show up or get involved,” Krenzer said. “Again, I would have liked to see more awareness of the event around on campus and more involvement and excitement at the event itself.”
Assistant Director for College Engagement Bethany VanBenschoten had a personal connection to Relay.
“I participated in Relay with my husband and my son this year because my husband was raising money on behalf of our family,” VanBenschoten said. “He had brain cancer, detected last year on the night of last year’s Relay, and the American Cancer Society helped us in so many ways.”
VanBenschoten said that out of everything there, she liked her husband’s speech and the survivor’s first lap.
Dave Roberts, an adjunct professor of psychology, also attended Relay for Life in honor of people he knows who are cancer survivors and for other friends and family of his that have died as a result of the disease.
However, the family member that is at the center of Roberts’ thoughts is his 18-year-old daughter, Jeannine, who died of a rare and aggressive muscle tissue sarcoma on March 1, 2003.
“I always look forward to connecting with both cancer survivors and caregivers and supporting our students who do such a great job organizing this event,” Roberts said. “Attending Relay for Life at Utica College is especially meaningful to me given the tremendous support and love that I have received from the faculty, students and staff in the aftermath of Jeannine’s death.
Roberts said that if he was in charge of Relay for Life, he would not change a thing about it as he described it to be very organized and meaningful.
“I am always in awe when I look at the number of luminarias that are displayed in honor of those who have survived and died of cancer,” Roberts said. “For me, it is a reminder of the great work that we have done to develop cures for many types of cancers and the resilience of those who have survived cancer. It is also a reminder that we still have more work to do to achieve our goal of living in a world free from cancer.”