Spotlight: Alison Simboski, Director of Relay for Life

Her Campus Bryant was extremely excited to sit down with sophomore Alison Simboski, Director of Relay for Life at Bryant University, to learn more about herself, the event, and how the Bryant community as a whole can become more involved. Relay for Life is this Saturday, April 21st 2018, from 12-8pm on the Fisher Student Center Lawn (rain location: MAC).


Her Campus: When and how did you first become exposed to Relay for Life?

Alison Simboski: I went to a Colleges Against Cancer meeting the beginning of my freshman year, and they had an application for the Assistant Director for Relay for Life available. I had always been interested in cancer research corporations, so I applied not really knowing much about the position, but because I was really invested in the cause. The Assistant Director essentially shadows the Director for an entire year, and then gets passed down the position the following year – which is how I became the current Director of Relay for Life.


HC: Tell us about what the event represents as a whole and how the night is organized?

AS: So Relay for Life is supposed to represent a cancer patient’s experience and their journey. It usually takes place overnight: the patient is in the dark, struggling, for a long time, but then the sun comes up and they survive – we’re doing it from 12-8pm because that is just what worked best for everyone, but it still has the same meaning. The length of the event is trying to walk in their shoes and take on their struggle, which usually is done by doing laps around a track. We have laps dedicated to survivors, and silent laps for those still struggling or have passed away. The end of the night has a Luminaria ceremony which represents when patients beat the disease and can wake up to the sunlight. It’s a time for the community to come together to honor those who were affected, those who are struggling, and of course those who have passed away. It’s all about being strong and resilient for the day to understand the strength and resilience of the patients.


HC: What made you want to take on such a leadership role with Relay at Bryant?

AS: Cancer has had such a big impact on my life, so I really wanted to contribute to the cause any way I could. I really enjoy event planning and organizing, and I felt that this would be the perfect way to put my skills to use. I thought this would be the best way to give back to the community and to a cause that means so much to me.


HC: What have been the biggest struggles when it comes to organizing an event of this scale?

AS: Well, *laughs* it’s definitely been challenging. It’s hard because you don’t exactly have a planner that says what you need to get done and when; it’s just what you think needs to get done – and sometimes what you think…is wrong.


HC: What has been the most rewarding part of this process?

AS: Definitely just seeing how into it people actually are, and how interested people are in coming. Sometimes, when I talk to people about the event and they say “Yes I’d love to be there, I love Relay for Life and I love what it stands for – can I help?” I love seeing how much everyone wants to be a part of it, and donate money is just a really cool thing to see.


HC: How can the Bryant community contribute to, or participate in, this event?

AS: Just by being there and participating is honestly all I could ask of you, but to go above and beyond that would be to volunteer – we definitely need the help there. You could also fundraise: ask your mom, your dad, ask your aunts and uncles, get your friends involved! Some people say “I don’t want to that, it’s all day,” and yeah, it is all day –  but it’s going to be a beautiful day filled with events, food, and music. It would be a cool way to spend a Saturday.



HC: What can we do year-round to benefit the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life as a whole?

AS: They actually have other events in the area throughout the year. A lot of people don’t live near here, but they have events all over so no matter where you’re from there’s probably something close to you - so you can always participate in those events too. You can always donate to ACS or call them and ask if you can be a volunteer… there’s a million ways you can help them with what they need to get done.


HC: Why do you Relay?

AS: My aunt and uncle actually passed away from cancer, and I just saw how it affected my family. It was horrible. I just don’t want other people to go through that. I feel that helping out with this event is all that I can do to make sure that someday this doesn’t happen anymore.


As Alison said, there are so many ways to help out the American Cancer Society on their journey to find a cure for cancer. Visit Bryant University’s Relay for Life page to find out more about the event and ways you can participate!