Relay For Life Pageant 2017: An Interview With The Winners

(Photo Via: David Ramos)

Many of us gathered at the FIU Relay For Life pageant this past week and cheered on those passionate students who were in the running to br crowned Mr. and Miss Relay For Life. The crown is just a small token to what these students did and are continuing to do. Relay for Life is tied to the American Cancer Society. This is a non-profit organization that raises money to fund cancer research, patient care programs and educate those diagnosed with cancer.  This year the winners of the pageant were Emily Montes de Oca and Camilo Restrepo. I was able to get a sit down interview with the 2017 winners who were still feeling grateful and humbled about their success. Here is what they had to say:

What inspired you to run for this year's Relay For Life pageant? 

  • Emily Montes de Oca: “I ran in honor of my grandfather who passed away last November. This wasn’t the first time my family had been affected by cancer, but with my grandfather it was very different since I was one of his primary caregivers.”
  • Camilo Restrepo: “It was important for me to run so that I could raise awareness and educate those about the disease. Especially those who can't relay, like my grandfather. It's really personal for me because there’s a lot of cancer in my family, including my grandfather and father, so it means a lot. Also, last years winners were my close friends so they inspired me to do more.”

What was your reaction when they announced you won?

  • Camilo Restrepo: “Winning didn’t really hit me until the day after. It felt amazing to be announced the winner for such an amazing cause, and it felt even greater to have my father there to see it happen.”
  • Emily Montes de Oca: ”My heart sunk. It took me a good second to realize what had just happened.”

Any tips on spreading the word about Relay For Life?

  • Emily Montes de Oca: “Word of mouth! Students don’t know half of what FIU has to offer. The more you talk to people, address events, fundraisers and the cause itself, the more its spreads.”
  • Camilo Restrepo: “Attend all the events happening on campus. These events offer fun games, food, and you learn all about what each event is funding for.”

When talking about their emotions:

  • Camilo Restrepo: “This win really warms my heart. I take this win as my chance to do more for everyone.”
  • Emily Montes de Oca: “This win was like a milkshake for me. Sometimes you get a cherry on top, sometimes you don’t. BUT when you order a milkshake, you don’t order it for the cherry, you order it for the shake—and that’s how I felt about this pageant because winning was the absolute cherry on top!”

How much was raised?

  • Mr. and Miss Relay For Life raised a combined total of $3,600 for this cause, and it doesn’t stop there! 

The offcial Relay For Life event is coming up soon! Make sure to mark your calendar for Friday February 24th. FIU will host the event to fundraise as much money for the cause from 6 PM-6 AM! For more information about Relay For Life at FIU, check out this website as well as the Facebook page! Keep up with them on social media by following them on Instagram: fiurelay and follow the trending hashtag: #panthersgopurple