Brockport rallies against cancer
Relay for Life particpants honored cancer survivors and those lost to the disease by walking in their memory Saturday, April 14.
The Colleges Against Cancer club at the College at Brockport held its eight annual Relay for Life event Saturday, April 14 from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. in the Tuttle North Ice Arena. The event, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, aims to raise awareness about the devastating disease and gain financial support for cancer research.
Beth Cramer, secretary of Brockport's Colleges Against Cancer club and head of the marketing committee for Relay for Life, said while the event is about raising money, it's more about giving recognition to those who have been affected by cancer.
"Yes, [the event] is [about] raising money to find a cure for cancer and to help people who have cancer," she said. "But I think that the amount of people we affect is more important than the money."
The event was open to both College at Brockport students and Brockport village residents.
Cramer said as a college student, she doesn't think students have very many opportunities to interact with the community they live in. Yet by bringing together both parties at Relay for Life, students and residents are able to collectively share similar experiences and emotions.
"[Relay for Life] gave everyone a chance to come together to support one cause," Cramer said.
As stated on the Relay for Life website (www.relayforlife.org), while details vary by event, they all share three key moments in common.
A Relay starts with the first key moment: The Survivor's Lap. Cancer survivors are invited to circle a lap together, sharing inspiration and victory. Care-givers are also recognized in this lap, as they're detrimental support systems to those affected by cancer.
The second key moment in Relay for Life is the Luminaria Ceremony.
The after-dark ceremony honors people who have been touched by cancer and is a tribute to those lost to the disease.
For Brockport's relay Cramer said a slideshow was incorporated to remember those taken by cancer. She also said brown paper bags lined a section by the bleachers in the arena, illuminated by glow sticks and decorated with pictures and names of those taken by cancer.
Cramer said she's lost her grandfather and aunt to cancer. She said she sent a picture of them to the Relay for Life committee so that they could include them in the luminaria slideshow. She also said she bought two luminaria bags - one to honor her grandfather and the other to honor her aunt.
"Being involved with Relay [for Life] makes me feel like I'm doing something to help my family," Cramer said. "I look forward to the day when cancer is not something to be worried about because we have a cure."
Cramer said this year participants were given glow sticks, each representing someone they've lost or someone they know who's been affected by cancer. Everyone was asked to wait to crack their glow stick.
"I think it really connected everyone because by the end, everyone had a cracked glow stick," she said. "It really shows that no one is alone in their fight against this horrible disease."
The final key moment in the event was the Fight Back Ceremony. Participants were encouraged to make a personal commitment to save lives by fighting against cancer.
Participants signed up in teams and were put into groups of one to 19. Cramer said the number of people in each group wasn't restricted, so groups were able to recruit as many members as they wanted. She said teams walked the arena together, and members of each team also took turns walking the arena throughout the event.
Cramer said this year, Relay for Life included a performance by Brad Bialy, an acoustic rock singer/songwriter from Buffalo, N.Y. The event also included a flash mob, on-site massage therapists, Zumba Fitness provided by instructor Rebekah Feller, a pie-eating contest, a game of musical chairs sponsored by 89.1 The Point, a superhero-inspired game of Who Wants to be a Millionaire and a Miss Relay contest.
In the Miss Relay contest, Cramer said guys were asked to dress up to compete for the title.
"Some guys really go into it with heels and dresses," she said. "They [make a lap] around the track with bags, and if a person likes them, they can put money in their bag. Whoever has the most money at the end is crowned Miss Relay."
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