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Relay For Life raises funds and cancer awareness on the Cut

Students chat as they take a lap around the Relay for Life track on the Cut.  (credit: Jason  Chen/) Students chat as they take a lap around the Relay for Life track on the Cut. (credit: Jason Chen/) Sophomore CFA student Stanton Man plays bagpipes as part of Relay.  (credit: Jason  Chen/) Sophomore CFA student Stanton Man plays bagpipes as part of Relay. (credit: Jason Chen/)

Carnegie Mellon students gathered on the Cut Friday night to participate in Carnegie Mellon’s Relay For Life, organized by the Carnegie Mellon chapter of Colleges Against Cancer.

Relay For Life is a fundraising walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society, held overnight to show that cancer never sleeps. The event is meant to celebrate the lives of survivors, remember those who have been lost to cancer, and to fight back against the disease. Over 5,200 communities in 20 different countries hold their own Relay For Life event each year.

Carnegie Mellon’s Relay For Life kicked off at 7 p.m. with the opening ceremony, and welcomed senior international relations and politics major and president of Carnegie Mellon’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer Gabby DePasquale along with senior professional writing major and Relay For Life chair Raina Bradford-Jennings. Junior global studies major Emma Livne followed with an emotional and inspiring speech about her battle with acute myeloid leukemia this past year and finding “strength in the embrace of others.”

Over 300 people on 27 teams participated in the event, setting up tents on the Cut and walking laps on the surrounding paths. Campus organizations such as clubs, sororities, and fraternities were present, raising money through online donations, sponsorships, fundraisers, and the sale of items such as popcorn, apple cider, cookies, and handmade jewelry.

“I think it’s great that so many organizations on campus are getting involved in one cause,” said first-year economics and statistics major Theo Peterson.

DePasquale also appreciated the support from other campus organizations. “We are honestly so thankful for everyone who has come out; we couldn’t have asked for a better turnout. Everyone has been so amazing,” she said.

The night was filled with events and entertainment, including a team captain relay race, dodgeball tournament, limbo competition, and yoga, as well as performances by Dancers’ Symposium, Chak de Bhangra, a cappella groups including Joyful Noise and Counterpoint, and various other Carnegie Mellon organizations.

“It’s fun; it’s a really great experience” said senior chemical engineering major Lizzy Ha.

During the somber Luminaria Ceremony, paper bags decorated with the names of those who have fought cancer were placed around the path. Each bag represented one person and was lit from within by a candle or glow stick.

“These candles represent love and respect for those who have battled cancer,” said first-year electrical and computer engineering major and luminaria chair Celeste Neary. Participants took a silent lap to remember those who have been lost to cancer.

So far, Carnegie Mellon’s Relay For Life has raised $16,330 for the American Cancer Society, and will continue to fundraise until Dec. 31. Last year, the event raised a total of approximately $24,000.
“This campus has really just shown its support tonight, and we are really, really appreciative and humbled,” Bradford-Jennings said.

Colleges Against Cancer will continue raise money and awareness throughout the year.

“We do smaller events throughout the year to get cancer education more present on our campus,” Bradford-Jennings said.

To contribute to the cause or learn more about Relay For Life, visit www.relayforlife.org/pacmu.