On any given night at the Levee, the Fairfield University hot spot might be seen full of students grazing on chicken turnovers, seniors lining up for mug night, or patrons playing a game of pool, but on Wednesday it was full of something else: hope.
Each spring, Fairfield hosts a Relay for Life fundraiser on campus to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Last Wednesday night, the Levee featured this year’s kickoff event for the fundraiser, which is scheduled for Friday, April 12. The event boasted food, music, $5 registration and more solemn segments that informed students about the causes behind Relay for Life.
Relay for Life is held at locations nationwide. It is an overnight walk where teams raise money Sponsors and participants often camp out and set up booths and activities.
Since it began in 1985, Relay for Life has raised $8 million.
The kickoff for Fairfield’s 2013 Relay began at 7 p.m. After giving students time to indulge in food provided by local businesses, Fairfield’s Relay Committee co-chairs, Nicole Heller ’13, Brian Alexander ‘15 and Kyle Scherer ’15 opened by talking about Relay, its history at Fairfield and what they are planning for this year.
This year’s theme, “the 1990s,” received much applause when announced. “I love it,” said Jenn Patten ’15.
The committee played a video entitled “Why Do You Relay?,” produced by Marc Prescott ’15. The video featured Fairfield students discussing why they have participated in Relay for Life. Many walk in memory of relatives and friends, who either suffered from or are currently battling cancer.
After the video, the lights were dimmed for a “Show Us Your Hope” ceremony. Members of the Relay committee explained how Relay is “a time to share hope,” and four students shared personal accounts of experiences with cancer among relatives.
After each students shared stories, they recited the phrase, “I am hope and my hope will light up the room,” placing a glow stick in one of four large, cardboard luminarias. This was a smaller version of the luminaria ceremony that takes place at every Relay for Life, in which participants make small paper luminarias dedicated to someone who has battled cancer.
Kickoff attendees were given also given glow sticks. A list of categories relating to cancer was read, and attendees were told to light the glow stick when they heard a category that applied to them. By the end of the list, almost every student was holding an illuminated glowstick.
To track Fairfield’s fundraising progress or to sign up to participate, go to relayforlife.org/fairfieldu
“Why Do You Relay?,” produced by Marc Prescott ’15