Planning an event with approximately 1500 participants and raising over 50,000 dollars for the American Cancer Society is an improbable feat for many college students. However, for Elly Perlowitz, a sophomore at Temple University, the numerous efforts she put into planning Relay for Life paid off.
“This event is important to me because my mom is a cancer survivor and she chose Relay for Life as her community during her fight. I remember her walking her first survivor lap when I was still in elementary school,” Perlowitz shared. “To this day, I still get choked up during opening ceremonies when we ask all survivors to rise and I get to see her stand.”
Relay for Life was established in 1985. The event is a fundraiser through the American Cancer Society (ACS) and a celebration for cancer survivors, a way to remember loved ones who suffered from cancer, and a way to fight back for those who cannot. Relay for Life benefits all types of cancer and is typically a 12-hour walk. Relay’s mantra is “cancer doesn’t sleep so neither will we.”
In order to effectively plan for Relay, Perlowitz figured out many of the logistics for the event to take place. The event was held from 6 PM on Friday April 10, 2015 to 3 AM Saturday, April 11, 2015 in the downstairs gym at Pearson and McGonigle.
Various activities were held in the gym, including a walk to commemorate cancer survivors, dance performances, food fundraisers, etc. Students from multiple organizations on Temple’s campus came to the event to support ACS and participated in the games and activities held at Relay.
“Relay is special specifically to me because it has taught me a lot about myself. Obviously, Relay is a fundraiser and it’s about raising awareness and spreading a mission, but on a personal level, Relay gave me a voice,” Perlowitz stated. “In high school, I lost my uncle to lung cancer and that same year I got to be the caregiver speaker at my local Relay, which ironically takes place exactly where I heard the news of my loss. I got to share a story for someone who couldn’t, and I think that’s what makes Relay so special. ACS recognizes survivors the second they hear ‘you have cancer,’ because no one should have to hear those words.”