Relay for Life raises money for cancer, brings together campus community

Geneseo hosted its 12th Relay for Life with the slogan “Kick Cancer Out of This World” on Saturday April 8. Entertaining performers such as senior Ben Spaid (pictured above), on-site fundraising groups and a remembrance ceremony characterized the night-long event. (Keith Walters/Campus Photographer)

Geneseo hosted its 12th Relay for Life with the slogan “Kick Cancer Out of This World” on Saturday April 8. Entertaining performers such as senior Ben Spaid (pictured above), on-site fundraising groups and a remembrance ceremony characterized the night-long event. (Keith Walters/Campus Photographer)

For Geneseo’s 12th annual Relay for Life fundraiser on Saturday April 8 at the Wilson Ice Arena, Colleges Against Cancer had one slogan: “Kick Cancer Out of This World.”

The event had an outer space theme, and the Geneseo community exhibited their strength here on Earth at this “small, but mighty” town, raising over $160,173.25 by the end of the student-run event. The fundraiser supports the American Cancer Society, which funds both cancer research and services for cancer patients.  

“I believe our event was successful because of all the hard work our CAC committee and our e-board put into the event,” CAC president and psychology major senior Ashley Buttice said. “Countless hours spent planning and preparing I think is what allowed for the event to run as smoothly as it did.” 

Throughout the extensive event, there were a plethora of breathtaking and enjoyable performances for all 2,000 participants to watch. This included math and French double major senior Ben Spaid, who hula-hooped his way through modern hits. Different Geneseo performance groups like Between the Lines and Hips ‘n Harmony provided additional entertainment for partakers. 

There were also many aspects that diverted from previous Relay for Life events. On top of on-site fundraising and tabling events—which are ever present at Relay for Life—there were new additions to the yearly event, such as a routine by the dance squad OriGinal Xpressions. 

The entertaining variations also included the incorporation of spirit points. Participants received a Relay Passport on Saturday April 8, keeping with the theme of traveling and outer space. Students would get a stamp on their passport for completing challenges or for going to the different tables of various organizations. Depending on how many places the participant visited and completed on their passport, they received a set number of spirit points.

“We love having the fun stuff like the Lip Sync Battle. We are trying to fundraise—but we also want to put on a great event and bring people together,” Buttice said. “We want people to really get that sense of community and to enjoy the event.”

In addition to the keynote delivered by President Denise A. Battles, there were speeches given at the Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back ceremonies. All three targeted distinct aspects of cancer: celebrating milestones in one’s life in the face of cancer, remembering those who have lost their battle to cancer and moving into the future with plans to fight cancer. 

“I love the Remember Ceremony,” vice president of CAC and childhood with special education and English double major junior Grace Rowan said. “I think the silence in the ice arena is chilling—no pun intended—but I think that when people talk about cancer, people are very closed off about it. In this moment, though, it’s kind of like a space where you can just cry or you can comfort someone next to you if maybe you weren’t directly affected by cancer.”

During the Remember Ceremony at 10 p.m., junior economics and sociology double major Nina Santacesaria gave a personal anecdote regarding her mother losing her fight to cancer. Her speech ultimately showcased that any student in any of your classes could know someone who is facing the adversity that is cancer. A slideshow of those who lost their battle to cancer followed.

With that message in mind, students moved into the rest of the night ready to fundraise to fight cancer—particularly after the Fight Back Ceremony was delivered at 12:30 a.m.   

“I think seeing how many people are affected by it is very upsetting, but it also gives the sense that you’re not alone,” Rowan said. “We’re not alone, and right after it with the Fight Back Ceremony, it kind of makes you go, ‘This is why we’re doing what we’re doing.’”