Relay for Life at DeSales Raises Over $17,000 For Cancer Research
More than 150 DeSales University students and members of the faculty and staff braved the cold and rain to walk across campus and raise money for the American Cancer Society (ACS) in Relay for Life, from 6:00 p.m. Friday, April 21, to noon on Saturday, April 22. Their efforts were rewarded, as they surpassed the initial goal of $15,000 to raise over $17,000.
This was the first time DeSales University participated in Relay for Life. According to Jaime Gerhart, director of social outreach at DeSales, the amount raised by the DeSales community was the second-highest raised by any college participating in the Relay for the first time.
"Students realized they could make a difference in many people's lives by taking part in Relay and they worked very hard to meet and surpass their goal," said Gerhart. "They battled the weather and fatigue to make it an amazing event."
The Relay for Life event began at 6:00 p.m. with the opening ceremony and prayer. Anne Lewis, assistant professor of performing and fine arts department at DeSales and a cancer survivor, shared her experience about what it is like to have cancer, and the importance of remaining hopeful and optimistic. Traditionally, survivors, family members, and people who recently lost a family member to cancer walk the first lap of the Relay.
"I was inspired by the compassion and passion our students displayed during the Relay for Life event," said Jerry Joyce, vice president of student life at DeSales. "You could feel the spirit of St. Francis de Sales, as they came together as a campus to fight cancer."
Tents of all shapes, colors and sizes lined the mall outside of McShea Student Union and took on an international flair, as teams decorated campsites to represent various countries. Several teams were formed by college groups, such as the Student Government Association (SGA), Peers Advising Counseling and Educating Team (PACE), Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), the Dance honor society XTE, nursing majors, as well as individual students.
During the course of the Relay, teams also raised more money for ACS by selling a variety of baked goods, trail mix, and barbequed foods.
"My favorite part of Relay is not the event itself, but the work done ahead of time," said Mike Bingeman, '08, a political science major from Mertztown, Pa. "Several of my team mates and I had a lot of fun when we baked cupcakes for our bake sale. It was a time for us to bond."
The luminaria ceremony, which took place after dusk on Friday, honored cancer survivors and those who have lost the battle with the disease. White, candle-lit bags with their names surrounded the walking path and also spelled out the word "hope" next to Trexler Library.
"The luminaria ceremony was truly inspiring," said Stephanie Halinski, '08, a communications major from Lansdale, Pa, and a committee chairperson for Relay. "It was beautiful to see the candles light up the path. As the participants walked, it reminded us why we took part in Relay and why it is so important."
The rain held out until around 10:30 p.m. on Friday, when a steady down pour began and did not stop until Saturday evening. The weather conditions did not deter students from walking for this very worthy cause. According to some, the situation reminded them that cancer does not sleep or stop in the event of cold and rain.
"This event gave me a desire to get even more involved with the cause," said Janna Fellmeth, '07, a Spanish, secondary education major from Warrington, Pa., and a co-chairperson of Relay. "I felt a sense of accomplishment and community. Not only did we help an amazing cause by doing something that everyone can get involved in, but it also helped to strengthen our campus community."
Activities to help people keep awake and energized continued throughout the evening. Brian Zumbrum, '07, history major from Harrisburg, Pa., served as Master of Ceremonies, and worked to inspire and entertain those in attendance. People enjoyed a game of Twister, musical chairs, pajama fashion show, a dance demonstration, two bands, and a Mr. Relay competition.
Students who did fall asleep out in the cold and rain got a lovely wake up call at 6:00 a.m., to take part in an aerobics class, release any aggression on a piata and enjoy a hearty breakfast of donuts, bagels, fruit and coffee. Several faculty members woke up in the wee hours of the morning to show their support and to walk.
The closing ceremony included awards for the best campsite, the most money raised by a team, and the most money raised by an individual.
The three top winners were Courtney Andrews, '07, dance major from Chalfont, Pa., Caitlin Walters, '07, elementary education major from, Jackson, N.J., and co-chairperson of Relay, and Brian Zumbrum, '07, a history major from Harrisburg, Pa.
For more information about Relay for Life, contact Jaime Gerhart, director of social outreach at DeSales, at 610-282-1100, ext. 1889.
Press Release: Relay for Life at DeSales Raises Over $17,000 For Cancer Research | Posted on: 4/27/2006
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu