Relay for Life, a movement dedicated to fighting cancer, hosted their annual relay event last Friday, March 25 to fundraise for the American Cancer Society. 

For the first time in three years, the club hosted an in-person event in the Leslie C. Quick, Jr. Recreation Complex at Fairfield University. Relay for Life traditionally had not held any  in-person fundraisers since 2019, due to the pandemic, Gabriel Rodrigues ‘22, a student-member of the Relay for Life club on campus, said. 

He further stated that the event included a luminaria ceremony and cancer walk, pizza, games, giveaways, a D.J. and more.

“We had a duck hunt, a knockout game and a performance by Fairfield’s Dance Fusion,” Rodrigues recounted. 

“After the ceremony, the events continued throughout the night; this included more raffle giveaways and an epic musical chair battle,” he said.

Rodrigues shared further, “We blew through our attendance expectations and that was incredibly heartwarming to see.” 

“It looked like a sea of purple… [members] from every facet of the community came” he stated.

Many students, faculty, parents and staff came to show their support. David Axelrod, cancer survivor and founder of the Relay for Life club on campus and Colleges Against Cancer was also in attendance.

The event lasted from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., with the luminaria ceremony and cancer walk taking place at 9 p.m. The ceremony included bags, which could be purchased and decorated. Attendees filled their bags with glow sticks, each labeled with the name of an individual in remembrance of those who passed away from or are currently struggling with cancer.

The luminaria ceremony “…was incredibly moving,” said Rodrigues.  

“Dom Pappalardo gave a heart wrenching account of his fight with cancer, filled with his humor and will to live. This was followed up by a video speech by Peyton Siegel, Charlie Capalbo’s girlfriend, on the incredible strength and resilience Charlie exhibits, despite numerous life threatening complications. These speeches are a reminder that despite how hopeless we may feel at times, we should never ever give up hope,” he said.

Capalbo is a member of the Class of 2022 who has battled cancer since 2017. 

This ceremony was a way to remember those who have passed from cancer, and also to generate hope for those who are still fighting or know someone who is still battling.

This fundraiser took place on behalf of the American Cancer Society, an organization who will be donating 78 cents of every dollar raised during the event towards helping cancer patients.

Rodrigues shared that they were able to raise $22,000 altogether, which will lay the groundwork for future relays held. 

Relay for Life served as one way for students to support the millions of people who are diagnosed with, or know someone who has been diagnosed, with cancer. 

Rodrigues ended by sharing the gratitude he feels for all those who contributed to the event. 

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