University of Mary Washington students and Fredericksburg community members rallied at the Battlegrounds last weekend to show support for cancer victims and raised over $46,000 as part of the fourth annual UMW Relay for Life.
The event, one of many that takes place around the globe, lasted from 6 p.m. Saturday, April 6 until 7 a.m. Sunday, April 7.
All proceeds from the event went to the American Cancer Society to fund cancer research, patient programs and the foundations of Hope Lodge, a place for cancer patients and their families or caregivers to stay while receiving treatment in a city away from home. One of the patient programs is “Look Good Feel Better,” which aims to teach women cancer patients beauty techniques to handle the cosmetic side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, according to the American Cancer Society website.
Relay For Life participants form teams that conduct fundraisers and seek donations throughout the year, and then take part in the Relay itself, with at least one team member walking at all times during the event. There were 39 teams registered for UMW’s Relay event, totaling 413 participants who raised over $46,000, $8000 short of the 54,000 goal. The goal of fundraising was $54,000.
There were many activities aside from traditional walking at the Relay For Life event, including Mr. Relay, a drag show where men had a competition of who could most quickly put on heels, a dress and smoky eye makeup. Other events included a chance to throw a pie at Resident Advisors, performances by musical groups such as Save the Arcadian and various UMW acappella groups, chicken wing and pancake eating competitions, themed laps around the track and the Luminaria ceremony.
The Luminaria ceremony was a chance for anyone who wished to recognize someone in their life who was affected by cancer.
Those who wished to recognize someone who was affected by cancer were able to purchase a Luminaria bag, decorate it and place a candle inside. During the ceremony, the candles were lit and the bags placed around the track. Then, participants took a silent lap to honor cancer victims.
Julia Wood, a junior history and geography double major and member of the Relay For Life planning committee said, “Relay is really fun because there are a lot of activities, but it’s also really powerful because of the Luminaria.”
Katie Sue Van Valkenburg, a junior religion and business major and member of the Relay for Life planning committee, expressed her commitment to Relay.
“I do it in honor of my aunt who was diagnosed last year,” said Van Valkenburg. “Her health has been slipping and since I can’t help out at home, while I’m at school, I throw myself into Relay and try to help families like mine. I’m really proud of all that Relay has done.”
Adam Regulinski, a senior economics major and co-captain of the UMW Greek team, noted the positive effect of Relay.
“I feel Relay For Life is one of the biggest charities UMW has to offer and it greatly benefits the Fredericksburg and Mary Washington communities, and I’m ecstatic to be a part of it,” said Regulinski.
Freshman history major Abigail Fleming also spoke of her positive experience with Relay.
“It was exhausting, but it was well worth the effort,” said Fleming.
UMW Relay for Life will continue to accept donations for this year until August.