Behrend's Relay For Life committee raises
Photos By: Cassandra Wuerstle/The Behrend Beacon
Cassandra Wuerstle, News Editor
On Saturday, Behrend’s Relay For Life had it’s annual event in Junker. The event which went from 6 p.m. until midnight was a success, raising over $6,000 in the one evening.
Relay For Life is a committee on campus which consists of only a handful of members. The committee raises funds throughout the year and holds one large evening event per school year. Afterwards, the money raised by the Behrend club goes to the American Cancer Society.
Michelle Ducharme, the senior community development manager for the American Cancer Society, said that the money raised by Behrend goes toward the local Cancer Society in Erie. When explaining the process the money from fundraising goes through, Ducharme elaborated, “A lot of their fundraising is done prior, and then the money is used towards research. We research every kind of cancer and we have patient services that will help out. There’s a road to recovery program where volunteer drivers will take patients to their treatments if they have no other way to get there, and donations support that program.”
Ducharme also discussed the Hope Lodge program which offers free lodging for patients and caregivers who have to travel far to receive the best treatments: “It’s really about access to care for patients and finding those cures that are going to really make an impact long term.”
The Relay held several events which occur at most relays such as the survivor lap, the caregiver lap, a luminaria ceremony and a closing ceremony. Relay For Life president, Anna Reed, expressed how touching the luminar ceremony was. During a quiet reflection, guests were asked to crack a glow stick if they could relate to the announced affliction.
The group waited patiently as people cracked their glow sticks due to having loved ones affected including parents, sibling and grandparents. “By the end, everyone had in some way or another been affected.”
Behrend’s program is unique in the fact that campus clubs can host games at the event. Reed explained, “Instead of just walking the entire time we try to have a game every 15 to 30 minutes.”
This event had games hosted by the Triangle Fraternity, the Multicultural Council, the College of Democrats, Gamma Sigma, and Alpha Phi Omega. “We are really fortunate to have a lot of clubs on campus host a game,” explained Reed.
In addition to featured games, the Behrend event has specialized student prices for donating, “It’s supposed to cost between $15 and $25 [to donate] depending on when you sign up, but we wanted to make this more affordable since we know a lot of college students don’t have jobs so we were able to get it down to $10 throughout the entire season,” said Reed.
It wasn’t just students who attended the event, though. Lisa Staaf and her family came out to the event to show their support. Staaf, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in October, attended her first Relay For Life with her 30-40 family members. She expressed how important events like these were saying, “I just think it’s really important even if you haven’t lost anyone to cancer to come out and support people that do have cancer because it’s really hard, and to see people support it’s important.” She later expressed, “It meant a lot to me that the people that did come to support me, or whoever else, it just shows they care.”
The Pulaski Club donated $1000 on behalf of Mrs.Staaf that evening, bringing Behrend’s Relay For Life total up to $ 6,101.85.
The committee takes several months to put events like last Saturday's together. The committee is alway looking for more volunteers and members. They will resume their weekly meetings on February 21 at 6 pm in room 150 of the Reed building. All meetings are posted on Behrend Sync and open to the public for those interested in joining.
For those who would like to support the cause but are unable to join the committee donations are still being taken on Behrends Relay For Life Facebook page.