First Relay for Life Garners Over $14,000 in Pledges
Since the announcement that the American Cancer Society was bringing Relay for Life to the University for the first time, the campus community has been fundraising furiously. So far students and staff have raised a total of $14,567 help find a cure for cancer. The event, which will be held on the Anderson Track on April 24th, includes 157 participants comprising 23 teams.
Ann Wheeler ’12 is currently the top fundraiser for the event, having raised $3,225. She became interested in participating after spotting a poster in Usdan earlier this year.
“Cancer has affected my family personally, so when I saw one of the flyers in Usdan, I thought that it would be a great way to get involved,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler is a team captain for WeWoHope, which is comprised of members of the Wesleyan Woman’s Ice Hockey team. She is also the Survivor Chair for the event, in charge of organizing a dinner, raffle and survivor’s lap for cancer survivors.
“I’m excited to see it all come together, because I’ve never been to a relay before,” Wheeler said.
In order to raise money, Wheeler sent out an e-mail to her family and friends asking them for donations.
“I said that anything you can give would help, and then I got a lot of really big donations,” Wheeler said. “I didn’t really do anything, it was all them.”
Emma Caccamo ’13 also reached out to family and friends via e-mail explaining the event’s purpose and her motivations for raising money.
“You’d be surprised; if you just ask in a gracious way and explain why you’re doing it, you’ll get a great response,” Caccamo said.
Caccamo, who has raised $475 so far, is also the captain for the Clark 2 team and has been on the planning committee for the past six months. She grew up doing cancer walks with her family and friends, and jumped at the opportunity to help at the relay.
“I’ve been involved with this type of event throughout my life, so it was something I wanted to continue with here,” she said. “My roommate and I decided this was something we wanted to do together, since cancer has affected both of our families.”
During the course of the event, which begins at 6 p.m. and continues through the night until 10 a.m. the next morning, each team must have at least one member on the track at all times. The relay will also feature bands, raffles, games and other entertainment.
Hannah Monk ’12 has also been an active member of the planning committee and is the captain for the Eleven11 team. She has been fundraising by holding bake sales.
“I had a Cupcakes for Cancer bake sale, and I raised $130,” Monk said. “I’ve also been taking personal orders, if people want batches of cookies or a birthday cake.”
Monk is in charge of creating a slideshow of people’s loved ones who have died of cancer or are battling cancer for the Luminaria Ceremony. During the ceremony, people can purchase bags with candles to dedicate to loved ones. At night, the bags are arranged around the track to honor their memory.
“I’m really looking forward to the Luminaria Ceremony, because I think it’s a great way for people to honor either people they’ve lost or people that are currently struggling,” Monk said.
Though Middletown hosts a Relay for Life during the summer, many students believe that this event will help bring together members of the Wesleyan community.
“I always thought there should have been a relay event at Wesleyan, so I was really excited when I saw that we were having one,” said Ingrid Parl ’10, who is the captain of Team Glee and has raised $645 so far. “It’s amazing to bring a community together for a cause that affects so many people, and almost everyone knows someone that’s been affected by cancer.”
Students aren’t the only ones getting involved. Staff from the Office of Residential Life started the WesLife team and have been asking for help from other offices on campus as well.
“This year I just wanted to give back,” said Alex Cabal, an Area Coordinator who is part of WesLife. “So when this opportunity came about, it was perfect.”
Like many of the volunteers, Relay for Life holds a special significance for Cabal because cancer has affected his family.
“My grandmother’s sister died of cancer when I was younger,” Cabal said. “She was my favorite aunt, and it’s something my grandmother is very passionate about.”
Cabal gathered donations from friends and family, especially from friends that had been affected by cancer or had participated in previous relays. So far he has raised $510 and looks forward to meeting all of the other fundraisers during the event.
“Being with other people that were willing to put their time into the event will be really nice,” Cabal said.
Cabal has been encouraging as many people as possible to sign up and participate, as there is still time to get involved.
“It’s something really easy to do, especially when you have supportive friends,” Cabal said.