Almost 100 joined together in Clemente for an annual all-nighter on March 25. All for cancer research.
Relay for Life is an annual event in which people donate money and then join together to stay awake throughout the night. The premise of the all night event, which starts at dusk and ends at dawn, is to detail how a cancer patient goes through their experience, starting with the initial diagnosis and ending with the treatment of cancer.
The relay, and the many laps walked throughout the night, symbolizes the battle of a cancer patient. The Relay ends as the sun rises, bringing a new day for every cancer patient, survivor and caregiver.
Sponsored by the American Cancer Society, the event was run by Florida Tech students Samantha Hodge and Ariana Tate. Along with the Relay For Life Committee, who were all dressed in red, the duo tirelessly worked to run a successful and lively event in order to raise money for cancer research.
This event, the 11th annual Relay For Life cancer research fundraising event at Florida Tech, was hosted by Colleges against Cancer.
Michael Fenn, faculty adviser for Colleges against Cancer opened the event with a brief speech. Florida Tech ROTC (Panther Battalion) presented colors, and finally, admission counselor Bonnie Neptune performed the National Anthem. The event was open to students, staff, faculty and community.
While the attendance of the event was event was less than that of last year, the dedication was all the same, and the devoted people remained true to their commitment.
“I’ve been doing relay for about 9 years,” said Ariana Tate, co-chair of Relay For Life. Tate began participating in Relay For Life during her freshman year of high school. She joined the committee during her senior year of high school and followed it with four more years during college.
As the co-chair of Relay For Life here at Florida Tech, Tate oversaw the work done by the various departments and students involved on campus, while the event chair, Samantha Hodge, coordinated with the community, including the Relay for Life representative.
Following the departure of the representative, with one month left to go, Tate took on the duties of the representative in order to allow the event to run as smoothly as possible.
Tate, along with many of the participants at the event, has had family members pass away due to cancer.
“I actually just had to put down my dog,” she said. “She had stage 4 lymphoma.” Tate is not only an advocate for cancer research of people, but for those of animals as well, and looks forward to research in cancer treatment for animals.
The first lap of the Relay started at 4:34 p.m., and followed the survivors and caregivers present for the event. All of the survivors carried with them a different story, including a childhood leukemia survivor and a three-time cancer survivor.
This first lap was then followed by the participating students and teams, including Alpha Phi Omega, Sigma Tau Gamma, Florida Tech Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy and the Biomedical Engineering Society.
The Relay included many events to fill the night, including the Mr. Relay 2016 Pageant and Alpha Tau Omega’s TAUCuts. There was also a raffle, with prizes provided by the participating student organizations, as well as a 50/0 raffle, where 50 percent of the money from the raffle went toward the American Cancer Society.
The event officially ended at 5:30 a.m. on March 26, Saturday morning — 13 hours later.
The participants donated money toward research. Alpha Phi Omega donated just north of $1,000 on the morning of the event. They designed and sold T-shirts to all of the members. In addition, they made use of social media, urging friends, family and extended family to give what they could.