Relay for Life kicks off at late night

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has invested over $5 billion dollars in research since 1946 in accordance with its mission to “Save Lives, Celebrate Lives & Lead the Fight for a World Without Cancer.” In 1985, it founded the Relay for Life movement, which works with communities to host fundraiser events that enable the ACS to continue its advocacy, research and patient support.

A classic Shirley Temple consists of ginger ale, grenadine and maraschino cherries. Photo by Danielle Bongiovanni

In advance of the upcoming on-campus Relay for Life, Ramapo’s ACS chapter partnered with Dining Services to host a kickoff event at late night on March 24. The menu matched this year’s Relay for Life theme, “Through the Decades.” Classic bites to eat included corn dogs and potato skins, all washed down by a sweet Shirley Temple. ‘80s music reigned supreme over the speakers.

Chapter members greeted diners with complimentary raffle tickets and information about their organization and its upcoming event. “We fundraise money for cancer awareness and research. Our biggest event of the year is next week, which is Relay for Life. It’s a 12-hour event where we hold ceremonies and we honor our cancer survivors, those we have lost, and those who are currently still battling,” said chapter president Agata Srodon. The senior will be attending with her mother, a survivor.

“I joined the club because I personally have a family history of cancer. It touches home. I also want to go into oncology nursing, so I want to work with cancer patients. It’s a part of my life, honestly,” she said.

Students could use their raffle tickets to enter drawings for a variety of prizes, including a Bluetooth speaker and a lamp resembling a sunset. The raffle was secondary to the intention of the kickoff, however.

Srodon said, “We currently have over a hundred people signed up for the event right now, but we would love to get 200 if not 300 people at the event. We’re just trying to get some energy generated for the event.”

The tactic was a success. Many students present admitted to being drawn to late night by advertisements of the raffle, and they expressed interest in learning more about Relay for Life because of it. Others were already familiar with the ACS.

Senior Eron Eden has participated in past Relay for Life events at his church. He plans to attend the upcoming Relay in honor of his grandmother.

“It’s important, and a lot of people lose people to cancer, so helping further research to prevent that is a really good cause.”

Ramapo’s Relay for Life is set to take place on March 31 at the Bradley Center from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Admission is $15, with all proceeds going to the ACS. There will be activities, food, music, small businesses and other clubs in attendance.

“The idea is that cancer never sleeps, so why should we?” said Srodon.

Featured photo by Danielle Bongiovanni