By Christina Mowry, Assistant News Editor

and Enxhi Myslymi, Managing Editor

Freshman Kelly Allen has been participating in Relay for Life for eight years in honor of her father, who beat stage four lymphoma.

“I think that Relay gives everyone hope that there are survivors, and he’s my hope,” said Allen. “I hope to share that with everyone so everyone can see that you can conquer this disease.”

One of more than 30 Relay committee members, Allen participated in the annual kickoff event in the Barone Campus Center on Nov. 5. The event is designed to introduce students to the 2015 Relay for Life, which will take place on April 17.

Event Chair Brian Alexander ‘15 began the evening by welcoming the audience, a mixture of students and committee members. Alexander described Relay’s history, which began in the 1980s by a surgeon named Dr. Gordy Klatt who wanted to help his local American Cancer Society.

In an effort to raise funds, Klatt circled a track for 24 hours, and friends could pay a small sum of money to join him. After a successful event, Klatt organized a larger event, now known as Relay for Life.

Once students were acclimated, Team Development Chair Christina Diubaldi ‘18 explained the rules of the fundraising season. Each team captain must attend all meetings and also hold fundraisers during the course of the fundraising season.

For Students For Life Team Captain Brianna Cocuzzo ‘17, Relay’s mission has always been one of importance.

“My great-grandma and one of my friends from high school died from cancer, and I don’t want to see anyone else die from this disease,” said Cocuzzo.

As part of the kickoff event, a Luminaria speaker is invited to tell his or her story on why they support Relay for Life. This year’s speaker was alumnus Nicole Heller ‘13, whose father passed away of cancer.

Heller annually participates in Luminaria ceremonies, writing on the Luminaria bag “Cancer you killed my father, prepare to die.”

Heller ended her speech by thanking the audience for their involvement.

“I just want to thank you all,” she said.  “We can come together to kill this disease that kills too many people that we love.”

After a moment of silence in memory of all those who have or had cancer, the event chairs showed a video announcing that this year’s Relay for Life will be carnival themed. In the past, the themes have been Disney, the 90s and, most recently, the Olympics.

When asked about this year’s theme, Alexander explained that it was the “popular choice among the committee,” who hopes to raise $65,000, topping last year’s record-breaking $63,300.

“We always try to do something that we can get the [Fairfield] community excited about, and that seemed like the best option,” said Alexander.

Throughout the event, Alexander encouraged those interested in being a part of Relay to register at the three designated tables or participate in a raffle.

According to committee member Stephen Dirks ‘18, at least 50 people registered for Relay for Life at the kickoff event.

For committee member Lindsey Hanley ‘15, Relay holds a special place in her heart after having lost a relative to cancer.

“I don’t want to see anyone else have to go through what my family went through … Or what other families are going through,” said Hanley. “I relay for change.”

To register for this year’s Relay for Life, go to:

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