This year's annual Relay for Life event focused on the ways in which Ramapo students could be superheroes in the face of cancer, with superhero motifs such as the iconic Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman logos displayed on the relay track in the Bradley Center. Ramapo's event, which occurred this past Friday into Saturday, raised approximately $53,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Highlights of this year’s Relay for Life included activities such as dizzy bat, a game where participants were expected to spin themselves around with their head on a bat and run a relay race, a human pyramid competition, a Zumba class and a performance by Ramapo’s own improvisational comedy troupe the Fooligans. John Keles, a freshman at Ramapo, said that the night’s Super Smash Bros. video game tournament was the highlight of his first RCNJ Relay experience. In fact, the experience lasted until 5 a.m. on Saturday morning.
Appropriately enough for a night themed around superheroes, a group of heroic cancer survivors came to Ramapo and shared their stories.
When asked about how his experience with cancer shaped his life, survivor Kenneth Tietz replied, “It gives me a better outlook on life, knowing I survived such a tough thing to beat, and I hope other survivors feel the same.”
Indeed, many survivors had interesting stories to tell. Sarah Davidovich related her experiences with cancer to the audience and encouraged them to remember that no one fights cancer alone. While there were many cancer survivors in attendance, others came to honor those they have known who have battled cancer. One student, junior D.J. Ward, participated in Relay because his father is a survivor. Wilson Quiceno, also in his third year at Ramapo, saw Relay as a way to honor his uncle, who also won the battle against cancer.
Many organizations also came out in full force to support Relay. Junior Alicia Cahill, a member of the Sigma Delta Tau sorority, said that she and her sisters came to Relay to raise money for different causes, particularly the fight against cancer. Other Greek organizations were represented as well – the Tau Delta Phi fraternity brothers challenged participants to donate $1 in order to duct tape a brother of theirs to the Bradley Center wall. Their fundraising efforts were a success, as several individuals handed in their dollars to support a worthy cause.
Although Relay for Life is a time for Ramapo students to gather together and have a good time in support of a great cause, the event also included the annual Luminaria Ceremony, a solemn reminder of the uphill battles which people from all walks of life have lost to cancer. Despite the somber nature of the Luminaria, sophomore Relay for Life member and cancer survivor Samantha Sproviero liked the ceremony because she feels that “it’s important to show how many people are affected.”
Indeed, millions of individuals in the United States have lost their lives in the fight against cancer, and those currently affected by the disease often face uncertain futures.
Ramapo’s annual Relay for Life was a time to honor the lives of those who have fought cancer, regardless of the outcome, and to raise awareness. Many participants raised great sums in order to support the American Cancer Society’s initiatives.
Sophomore Kim Simunovich made it her mission to raise $1,000 for the 2015 Relay for Life, while first-year Relay participant Heidi Pilla had a more modest goal. When asked about her goals Pilla said, “I don’t know if I really had one – just to raise money for people with cancer.”