UWF’s 2016 Relay For Life crosses the finish line

By Kenny Detwyler

Contributing Writer

money relay

Photo courtesy of UWF’s Relay for Life Facebook page.

On Friday evening, hundreds of students, faculty, staff and cancer victims ran not only for their lives, but for the lives of others.

The University of West Florida’s Relay For Life is a yearly event, one of many across the nation, which raises money for cancer research and raises awareness to the struggles that cancer victims and their families go through every day.

“We participate in Relay every year, Relay is very important to us,” junior Christina Shuster, of the Zeta Psi Eta sorority, said. “It’s for a good cause and it’s a really fun time.”

This year’s theme was to “toon” out cancer, inspiring the organizations to theme their booths to cartoon characters, adding to the fun that Shuster referred to.

The organizations who participated, became a part of Relay’s rebuilding year . Relay returned to the track following 2015’s rain out, the end time was pushed up to 2 AM, and there was decrease in sponsorship, supplemented by SGA.

Even with all of the changes, students never lost sight of what Relay is all about.

relay

Photo courtesy of UWF’s Relay for Life Facebook page.

“It’s important to show your support, because cancer affects everyone,” senior Kirby Thomas, of the Students for Social change, said. “It would be great to have that community everywhere you go, of people who are trying to help better people’s lives.”

Relay featured a host of activities used to keep students engaged with the event, a job which prompted them to end earlier in order to make sure the event ended on a high note. Relay participants were treated to music, games and themed laps which made the evening move more swiftly and enjoyably.

The luminaria ceremony, a staple of Relay for Life, was incredibly moving. A single bagpipe player led a silent procession around the track as, the word “cure” glowed in on the field. The ceremony is used to honor those who have lost their battle with cancer.

Relay continued on through the night and early morning. By the end of the event, UWF Relay had raised $13,539.43, for the American Cancer Society. Proceeds which go to cancer research and also keeping the ACS’s doors open.

“It’s all non-profit, all of our funding comes from donations, you have to pay all the employees and I don’t think people realize that,” junior Megan Hossler, of the Kugleman Honors Program, said. Hossler is also a volunteer at the ACS.

“Things like this really help fund the research for cancer and create more birthdays,” Hossler said. “It’s just really great having a bunch of people come out and fundraise in a really exciting and fun way.”

Want to read more about Relay for Life? Click here to check out Kelsi Gatley’s article about the Luminaria Ceremony.