People tend to assume that college students stay up late. However, on Friday, April 15, Fairfield students put their night-owl tendencies to good use for a good cause rather than to party or finish a lengthy assignment — Fairfield’s tenth annual Relay for Life.

Each year for Relay for Life, students form various teams to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The organization uses the donations for cancer research, patient support, prevention information, education, and detection and treatment, according to the American Cancer Society website.

Different teams come up with different fundraisers before Relay and at their various tables during the event. One group at the event, the Stags against Cancer team, made wish bracelets, which were on sale both before and during Relay. Students for Life welcomed visitors to their table to make cards for pediatric cancer patients for $1 and the men’s soccer team had retired New York Yankees player, Mariano Rivera, autograph shirts for $15 and give personal photographs for $5.

The men’s soccer team ended up raising around $4,000, and about $48,000 was made in total at Relay for Life, in comparison to the goal of $55,000.

Along with fundraisers, there was also live entertainment at the event, both from students and visitors. These entertainers included Your Mom Does Improv, acapella groups the Bensonians and Sweet Harmony, comedian Adam Grabowski and others. These performances, along with Zumba lessons, games of Twister and karaoke sessions gave the event a lighthearted feel.

However, despite the entertainment, much of the night was somber. Students gave accounts of their experiences with cancer. Additionally, the Luminaria segment of the night was beautiful and sad as it commemorated those who were lost to cancer.

“During the Luminaria Ceremony alone,” said Katie Higgins ‘18, sponsorship committee co-chair for the Relay for Life at Fairfield and one of the team leaders of Stags against Cancer, “looking down at the Luminaria bags glowing in honor of a loved one, in support of a fighter or in celebration of a survivor and then looking up to see people with their arms around each other, supporting each other, is inspiring and I think it says a lot about Fairfield.”

“It shows the sense of community that is here,” Higgins continued.

Others agreed with Higgins about the sense of community at Fairfield.

Senior Nicolette Tiernan commented, “I think it’s awesome; it’s a great sense of community. It really shows how we can all rally together around such a great cause to fight against such a horrible disease.”

Sophomore Julianne O’Connell, who attended the event, but was not on a team, agreed and said that everyone comes to support Relay, even those who are not on teams.

“This is one of the biggest events on campus,” said O’Connell. “It brings everybody in the Fairfield community together because, one way or another, someone is affected by cancer and someone knows someone affected by cancer.”

Rivera also commented on the sense of community that he observed at Fairfield.

“This kind of event brings the community together,” said Rivera, “and it shows that the Fairfield community is good when it comes to these kind of events.”

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