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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Community rallies for cancer relay

    Students of all years and majors pulled an all-nighter Friday night – to raise money and awareness for cancer research.

    More than 900 people walked, ran and sat during this year’s Relay For Life event, which began Friday night at 6 and ended 8 a.m. Saturday.

    The event drew in $56,000 for the American Cancer Society, short of the UA’s goal of $67,500.

    Organizers like Kira Runtzel, a chemistry junior, were initially worried weather conditions might adversely affect the event – as they did last year – but everything turned out according to plan.

    “”We gave participants surveys to see how they rated the event, and we got almost all positive reviews,”” Runtzel said. “”The sprinklers didn’t go off, all the bands showed up on time and it didn’t rain. Overall, it was a great success.””

    Many participants worked in teams that set up tents and booths on the UA Mall and competed to raise the most amount of money.

    Teams were comprised of members of Greek Life and student clubs, as well as college departments and groups of individuals.

    Many began raising money before the event by holding percentage nights at various restaurants and collecting donations on campus.

    “”We’ve been out here on the mall on Tuesdays and Thursdays for the past two and a half weeks,”” said Nicole Mallett, a physiology freshman. “”Overall, it’s been really fun.””

    Guest speakers gave talks about people they knew who had been affected by cancer, and student bands performed throughout the night.

    Relay For Life representatives also organized events such as a watermelon-eating contest and the Miss Relay competition, a mock beauty pageant involving guys dressing up as girls.

    Individual teams passed the time with a variety of activities such as barbecuing and root beer pong.

    A key aspect of the event was the luminario ceremony, which involved participants writing on sand-filled paper bags the names of friends and family who had been affected by cancer. The luminaries were then lined up around the mall perimeter.

    The candles in the bags were lighted at 9 p.m., accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation featuring every name.

    “”We were afraid we wouldn’t be able to get enough luminarios to go all the way around the mall, but we ended up with enough bags to wrap around two- and in some places three-deep,”” Runtzel said. “”I think it really meant a lot to people who have lost someone they know to cancer.””

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