Relay for Life

Last Saturday, Relay for Life was hosted by Alpha Phi Omega (APhiO) for the first time in Carnegie Mellon history. The event, designed to raise money for the American Cancer Society, featured teams of volunteers who walked in a non-competitive ?relay? around Gesling Stadium?s track. Different booths were set up around the center of Gesling Stadium to raise additional money.

The event was originally started in the 1980s by a group of friends and has been held in colleges annually since. The chair of Relay for Life was Scott Smith, a first-year design major and a brother of APhiO. According to Smith, Syracuse University held Relay For Life while he was a student there. He thought it would be a good idea to start the event at Carnegie Mellon. Smith said, ?It?s a very effective fund-raiser; one of the best drugs for cancer was created by the American Cancer Society.?

Relay for Life was originally scheduled for 10 pm on Friday, but it was postponed until 10 am Saturday due to the rainy weather. It thus became a 12-hour event instead of a 24-hour event. According to Smith, there were about 28 teams that participated in the event, each consisting of about eight to 15 members. Throughout the twelve hours, at least one member of each team had to be walking around the track at all times. Teams were also responsible for raising donations prior to the event. The suggested goal for each team was to raise at least $500. Some teams set up tables on campus to sell raffle tickets or pizza cards, while others simply asked people for money. Margot Wilson, a residential advisor in Donner and the Donner team captain, commented, ?Asking people for straight donation is more efficient.... If there?s a set fee then people are more likely to donate.?

Among Relay for Life?s corporate sponsors were Papa John?s Pizza, Starbucks, Panera, Krispy Kreme, Rita?s, Prantl?s Bakery Shadyside, Megan?s Pantry, Bayer, and National City.
?40 percent of the money raised will go to the American Cancer Society for research,? said Smith. ?The other 60 percent will go to American Cancer Society services, such as creating wigs for patients fighting cancer.?

In addition to the relay, APhiO included plenty of entertainment for the teams. These included team parades, a Hula-hoop contest, a survivor lap, a magic show, trackside poker, the Yves Jean Band as well as a step-dance show by Kappa Phi Lambda and a raffle. One of the later events, the Luminaria Ceremony, allowed volunteers to place an illuminated bag around the track in recognition of a loved one. Prizes such as gift certificates were given to teams that raised the most money, and a free massage was given to the individual that was on the track the longest.
Furthermore, there was a competition during the week to raise additional money. Seven contestants competed to kiss a pig during the event. The winner was E Tower housefellow Mohana Rajakumar. She was joined in kissing the pig by runner-up Misty Muscatel, who volunteered to join Mohana. Over $200 was raised by this competition alone.

First-year Theresa Campobasso, whose grandmother passed away last month due to cancer, stated that ?raising money for cancer is very important. It affects a lot of people because there?s no cure for it.? Donner captain Wilson said, ?It?s really wonderful that Relay For Life is being brought to Carnegie Mellon. It was introduced two weeks ago and the committee chairs have worked very hard on it. It seems that next year it?ll be even better.?