Relay for Life Raises Over $60,000 for a Cure

Ryon Graf | Staff Photographer

Ryon Graf | Staff Photographer
Campus organizations adopt different themes to spread awareness about a specific type of cancer at Relay for Life.

Nearly 2,000 individuals from 63 different teams gathered together at Aldrich Park to raise money and increase cancer awareness. A collective $60,432 was raised by UC Irvine’s American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Participants walked the 0.2 mile-long track around the commencement lawn from noon on Saturday, April 26, to noon the following Sunday.
The event, which was hosted by The Colleges Against Cancer Club, included food, a DJ, and competitions such as battle of the bands and a water balloon toss. Darwin Tsang, a third-year biological sciences major, was the winner of the watermelon-eating contest. Tsang, who came as part of Student Health Outreach said his organization was at the event “in order to create a positive atmosphere.”
In addition to the DJs that CAC had invited, student musicians either battled other bands or performed during ceremonies throughout the course of the night. Mike Lopez, a third-year political science and music composition major said that “playing on the stage [during the luminary ceremony] was an extraordinary experience because it felt like there was a connection between the band and the participants not only in the sense of a commonality but also in a spiritual and musical sense.”
The Luminary Ceremony involved speeches, and a slide show which emphasized the idea that cancer affects every individual in one way or another. Participants placed luminaries, which are paper bags containing a single candle, around the track with the names of family, friends and loved ones affected by cancer.
Most people who attended the event were motivated by a personal encounter with the devastating effects of cancer. “I participated in Relay for Life for two reasons,” Lopez said. “One is because my grandpa died of pancreatic cancer before I knew him and the other is because my fraternity participates in it to raise awareness for our members and our families.”
Havi Tran, a first-year biological sciences major has been participating in Relay for Life for the past five years.
Tran’s commitment to the cause is based on the effect that cancer has had on others in her life.
“I do this every year because I have a lot of people close to me affected by cancer, including my mom and my eighth-grade teacher,” Tran said. She joined Gondolin Hall’s team this year, which raised $725 as a group.
This year’s top fundraiser was Delta Delta Delta with $4,790. We Can Make a Difference and the Relay Committee followed with second and third place, respectively.
Catie Reilly, a third-year sociology major and chair of the Relay for Life committee, was thrilled by the ballooning of participants and fundraising. “Last year, we raised about $48,000 and this year we raised $60,432,” Reilly said excitedly. Additionally, the Relay for Life committee doubled the number of participants they had last year.
Relay for life at UCI is put on by Colleges Against Cancer, an organization which allows college students, faculty, and staff to work together to bring American Cancer Society programs and services to college communities nationwide.

Saundra Rose contributed to this report.