Each year a fundraiser called “Relay for Life” is hosted for the American Cancer Society. The event is a 24-hour walk signifying the constant struggle cancer patients go through without rest.
I spoke to the students behind Boston University’s Colleges Against Cancer organization. They are the ones responsible for hosting Relay for Life on campus, BU’s largest student run event!
They gave me insight into what they do and how we can all get involved.
What is Relay for Life?
“Relay for Life is a 12-hour fundraising event that takes place at the Track and Tennis Center at BU. It goes from 6:00AM-6:00PM with fundraising activities throughout. For example, each time has a basket to raffle off and activities like dodgeball and pies in the face.”
“Essentially the 24 hours represents the ups and downs that a cancer patient goes through. We are staying up for one night. Cancer never sleeps so for one day we won’t either.”
What do you to in the time before the event?
“We plan logistics in terms of getting the space booked and getting security for the event. We spend most of the year doing programing. We have an entertainment committee who organizes tournaments and performances. We have a ceremonies committee who make up the Emcees of the night — they run the show. We also get food donations for the event as well as work on education and awareness to get people to sign up.”
“It’s not just getting as many people as possible to sign up, it’s also getting the already established teams to recruit people and raise more money”
How can students get involved?
“You can sign up on a team, but a team can be one person. We have our Colleges Against Cancer team which anyone is welcome to join if they don’t have a team, but most of the time other student organizations or groups of friends make a team and raise money.”
What if you’re not athletic? Can you still participate?
“Don’t worry, it’s not an actual relay! It is on a track, but you don’t have to always be walking. The goal is to have one person from your team on the track at all times and you by no means have to be really athletic and run it!”
“It’s really fun to walk around the track with friends, there’s music playing and activities like karaoke and Zumba.”
Is there anything you’d like to change about the event or the organization?
“We are trying to create a bigger on-campus presence. Our biggest goal is to get as many people to come and raise as much money as possible. In the past, our numbers have been around 1,100-1,200 participants. Not all of them are even from BU and BU is huge so we want to increase the number of people that hear about us. BU’s so large that some people don’t even know we have Relay for Life here.”
“We’re trying to reach groups that aren’t students as well. In the past, we stuck to students and we’re trying to reach out to professors and staff.”
Special thanks to Executive Director Molly Smith (SHA ’19), Recruitment Director Sanjanq Srisakulchawla (ENG ’20), Publicity Director Sachi Mehrotra (QST ’21), Donations Director Dayva Briand (CAS ’19), and Entertainment Director Zach Nelson (CAS ’21) for speaking with me about this incredible organization.
Check out their website to see the current teams and find out how you can participate in Relay for Life this year on April 13th, 2019!
Photos from @relaybu on Instagram and the BU Relay for Life website.