Relay for Life 2017

The Sacred Heart community came together once again for our annual Relay for Life event which was held on April 22nd. Students along with family and friends from all over, gathered to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors and to remember the lives taken too soon by this terrible disease.

Relay for Life is an event with a powerful message and always has an outstanding turnout. This year, my fellow co-chair and I planned and ran the event with the help of our Relay for Life committee. This year Sacred Heart University raised over $25,000 to help cancer patients and fund cancer research. The event went on for a full twelve hours, leaving lots of room for food, entertainment, and ceremonies.

At the beginning of the event, all survivors were brought to the Linda McMahon building for a top-notch survivors lunch. Survivors and their caregivers were welcomed to a free lunch where Mrs. Petillo and professor Ron Hamel spoke about the struggle of cancer and how blessed each survivor is. Bagel King also hosted a free midnight breakfast for all participants at Relay, donating dozens of bagels.

For our opening ceremony in the Pitt Center, we had Dr. Petillo give a speech as well as a Sacred Heart student who is a cancer survivor herself. After that, Father Bruce led the group in a beautiful prayer. Immediately following that, the first lap was taken. This lap is the Survivor Lap, where all of our cancer survivors walk the track together as the rest of the group outlines the sidelines, cheers them on and celebrates their success. Towards the middle of the night, we have our Luminaria ceremony. During this time, we all come together and remember the lives lost from cancer. With no light but only glow sticks in everyone’s hand as well as luminaria bags lining the track, the entire Relay community came together and took a few silent laps in memory of all those lives we miss every single day.

We had a number of diverse entertainment aspects to Relay for Life this year. Sacred Heart’s very own Dance Company and Megahurtz performed dance numbers. One of SHU’s fraternities, OPK, also performed a step number followed by “how to step.” I hosted a Photo Scavenger Hunt and a Frozen T-Shirt contest. In addition, we had a third-degree black belt do a martial arts demonstration, after which Relay participants were invited to write their biggest fear on a wooden board and break the board in half, martial arts style. We even set up a human-sized version of Hungry Hungry Hippos, blow up football, basketball and soccer fields, and a Meltdown obstacle course!

It’s important to remember the true reason why we hold this event. We need to fight back against cancer, honor those who have overcome the disease and remember those lives lost to it. Relay For Life 2017 was a huge success. If you didn’t make it, don’t fret. 2018 will be here before you know it, and just wait to see what we have planned!