Caregivers, survivors, patients, family, supporters; these are just a few of the people who were in attendance at the Relay For Life event held at Fairfield University on Friday April 13 from 6 p.m. – 6 a.m. The event was held at the basketball courts of the Leslie C. Quick, Jr. Recreation Complex and featured multiple organizations, such as the Fairfield University Student Organization and Colleges Against Cancer, all present to raise money for cancer research.
Relay For Life is a world-wide organization that has raised over $10.3 billion since it was originally founded, and Fairfield University has been hosting this event on campus for about 10 years, and has raised around $500,000 during that time.
Professor Matthew Tullis, cancer survivor and the director of journalism at Fairfield University, gave a touching opening speech at the event where he spoke on his relationship with his childhood doctor at Akron Children’s hospital.
The event featured all sorts of fundraising groups set up on tables in a rectangular fashion in the middle of the room. These tables featured everything from muffins and cookies for $1, to a game of Fortnite for $5, to raffles for big ticket items like an Apple Watch. All of these proceeds are tallied up by the University’s relay team and donated to Relay For Life.
Attendees walked or ran laps around these tables, with the number of people walking ebbing and flowing throughout the night. In addition to the tables, there was also a bounce house, Spikeball, Neckbone Photography and a Super Duper Weenie food truck to keep attendees entertained throughout the night.
With over 400 attendees in total, there were a variety of people who attended the event ranging from students and faculty, to Fairfield children with their parents. The Fairfield Men’s Soccer team was also present at the event for the majority of the night.
Soccer player Diallo Simon-Ponte ‘20 commented on why the team attends the event every year, “We’re out here to support a cause very close to home. Our former teammate is a cancer survivor. Every year we make a strong effort to be a part of this event.”
Some of the highlights of the event include the opening lap of the Relay performed by survivors and caregivers, which kicks off the event at about 7 p.m. Other notable events included performances by Fairfield’s singing groups, The Bensonians and Sweet Harmony. Later on in the evening, Fairfield’s improv group, Your Mom Does Improve also performed at the event.
All in all, the event raised around $40,500 throughout the night. The top five fundraising teams include: Colleges Against Cancer, Buck Cancer, Fredette’s Fighters, The Fierce Nursing Faculty and the Fairfield University Student Association.
FUSA member Katie Mcpherson ’18 commented on why FUSA made an effort to be present at the Relay, “We’re out here to support all those who have had cancer, be a part of the community and to give back however we can.”