Relay For Life Raises More Than $84,000

Photo: Loriel Letizia

Participants in Montclair State's Relay For Life brave the cold and dark to help raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Montclair State University raised more than $84,000 in its third annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life held on April 8 and 9, 2011. The event gives participants a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and to fight back against the disease which will claim the lives of more than 500,000 Americans in 2011.

“We raised more money this year than in the last two years combined,” said Stephen Frost, the event organizer who recently received his MBA from Montclair State and is now pursuing a second bachelor’s degree in political science. Donations came from students, faculty, staff, family, friends, and alumni of the University.

At the 12-hour event, which started on Friday, April 8 at 7 p.m. and ended on Saturday, April 9 at 7 a.m., teams of people took turns walking or running around the Student Center Quad. Each team was expected to have a representative on the track at all times. Ninety-four teams of students and other members of the Montclair State community were fielded for the event, with about 500-600 people braving chilly temperatures and drizzle to take part.

The event kicked off with a Survivors’ Lap of cancer survivors, who were joined on the second lap by the caregivers of those with cancer, past and present. On the third lap, the Relay For Life teams joined the group. Each of the cancer survivors was presented with a keepsake medal by Dean of Students Rose Mary Howell.

During the Luminaria Ceremony at 10 p.m., about 200 white paper bags filled with sand and lighted candles were placed on the relay path and a silent lap was walked in honor of those with cancer and in memory of those who have passed.

This was followed by a Fight Back Ceremony in which participants pledged to take up the fight against cancer. Katherine Frega, a senior at Westfield High School, spoke about her battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Frost attributed the strong fund-raising showing this year to “starting a little bit earlier, and building better relationships with campus departments, the Student Government Association and Greek organizations.”

He singled out for special mention the Center for Student Involvement, Campus Recreation, the Office of Residential Education and Services, the Office of Equity and Diversity, the Student Government Association, Montclair State University Greeks, and the Montclair State University Veterans Association for their help and support.

The Relay For Life began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington, ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, Relay For Life events across the U.S. have raised more than $3.5 billion.