UConn to hold 10th annual Relay for Life charity event

The University of Connecticut is holding its 10th annual Relay for Life on Friday, April 10 and hopes to reach its goal of $50,000, UConn’s President and Student Director of Colleges Against Cancer Shannon Hughes said.

Opening ceremonies begin at 4:30 p.m. on the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences quad behind the Wilbur Cross Building. Mark Sargent and Jack Winters, two student cancer survivors, will speak during the survivorship ceremony and lead the survivorship lap, 8th-semester speech, hearing and language sciences major Hughes said.

“Throughout the night, WHUS Radio will be hosting as a DJ in addition to student group performances including UConn Swing and Blues, UConn Rock Ensemble, Extreme Measures and The Chordials,” Hughes said. “We will also have a professional hair stylist providing hair cuts, a henna station, pizza, Insomnia Cookies and Zumba.”

Participants can also partake in a Luminaria ceremony, in which they can decorate bags “In Honor, In Memory of, of In Support of” whomever they relay for, Hughes said. Contributors then put glow sticks in their bags, line the track with them and end with a ceremony before the final lap of the event.

“We hope that anyone who has ever been affected by cancer in any way comes out to check out our event and get involved,” Hughes said. “We also hope to improve our event over the years and make it bigger and better than ever.”

Many student groups had the opportunity to participate in the Relay for Life’s March Madness, in which students participate in different rounds and try to gain the most members on their team, send as many emails as possible and raise the most amount of money, Alpha Chi Omega Assistant Vice President of Philanthropy-External Amber Croft said.

Alpha Chi Omega is one of the UConn teams participating in the Relay for Life. The 15 members have raised less than $500 so far, but hope to raise more before the event, 4th-semester pre-teaching major Croft said.

“Alpha Chi Omega is still kind of the ‘new kids on the block’ in terms of Greek life, so we are trying to get involved in as much as possible on campus,” Hughes said. “Everyone on our team knows someone who has been affected by cancer in some way, so it’s even more than just meeting other people on campus. We hope that we can really make a change through Relay.”

Nearly 50 Relay for Life events are scheduled in communities and colleges across Connecticut this year, with an estimated 21,970 new cases of cancer anticipated in the state for 2015, according to a press release from the American Cancer Society.

“The Relay for Life movement unites communities across the state and across the globe to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action to finish the fight once and for all,” said Patrice Lestrange of the American Cancer Society in the press release. “Many participants are our family, friends, and neighbors who have faced cancer themselves. Each new person that registers brings us one step closer to saving more lives.”

Registration for the UConn Relay for Life remains open through the start of the event on April 10. People have the option to either join a team or register to walk at the event on April 10 or on Mondays between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Student Union.

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