Relay for Life Recap

As many of us are aware, Northeastern hosted its 6th annual Relay for Life in Matthews Arena this past weekend. This year’s event focused on a 90’s theme and had the goal of raising $260,000 for the American Cancer Society. The university surpassed this goal, raising over $270,000!

The point of Relay is to have at least one person per team walking for the duration of the event because “cancer never sleeps, and neither will we.” It isn’t all just walking, however -- there are many MANY activities to keep everyone busy for the twelve hours of Relay.

As a standard across the nation, Relays have a couple of ceremonies:

The Opening Ceremony: Celebrate

This opening lap is done by survivors to acknowledge their battles with and triumph over cancer. Each survivor is recognized by name and given a warm welcome to start off the event, with relayers offering them love and support. This kicks off the celebrate part of the evening, celebrating the lives that have been and will be changed by the money raised through Relay.

The Luminaria Ceremony: Remember

At the event, you can design and color white Luminaria bags for loved ones who have survived or lost their battle with cancer. At midnight, the hope ceremony begins, typically with a speaker or two who share their stories of how cancer affected their lives.

Before the ceremony starts, each person is given a glow stick but told not to crack it. After the speaker(s), there is a demonstration of how cancer affects the lives of so many people. As the connections are listed, those affected stand and crack their glow stick until none are left sitting. Cancer affects everyone, directly through relative or distantly through a friend.

“HOPE’ lit up by Luminarias

The ceremony generally ends with a silent lap around the lit Luminarias, when time is taken to reflect and remember those who couldn’t be there with us.

Fight Back

After the Luminaria ceremony, the main focus shifts from remembering to fighting back. The goal of the American Cancer Society is to make sure that no one loses their life to cancer, adn that goal is ever-present during Relay.


Like I mentioned, there are many activities to keep everyone occupied when they aren’t walking around the track. Tables with free goodies and fundraisers form an outer ring and the inside has many sports games going on. Every half hour or so, talented clubs from Northeastern perform, like NUDANCO or the No Limits Dance Crew. Games like Musical Chairs and Double Dare take place to bring out the competitive side of walkers.

Overall, this is an amazing event that makes great strides towards changing the lives of so many and keeping families and loved ones together.