Colleges Against Cancer’s annual Relay For Life celebration raises awareness, money for cancer research

Almost a year of preparation, a 12-hour-long event, 1,931 participants and $162,208.65 raised. These statistics characterized the annual Relay For Life fundraiser this year. 


Relay For Life has been a part of Geneseo for the past 13 years. This year’s celebration took place on Saturday April 14 to Sunday April 15, and included many performances, speakers, food stations, fundraising and attendees. 

Geneseo’s Colleges Against Cancer hosted the yearly Relay For Life event in the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena on Saturday April 14 to Sunday April 15, from 4 p.m. through 4 a.m. The night featured speeches, performances and an opportunity for the campus to unite in a common cause: to fundraise for and promote cancer research. Campus groups represented ranged from the Royal Lady Knights (pictured top) to Musical Theater Club (not pictured). By the event’s end, Colleges Against Cancer and the Geneseo community had raised $162,208.65 for the American Cancer Society, as part of this national initiative. (Annalee Bainnson/photo editor (Top, Bottom) Izzy Graziano/Knights’ life editor (center))

“Relay For Life is a global movement that supports people from all walks of life uniting together to eliminate cancer,” Colleges Against Cancer president senior Grace Rowan said. “This event is more than just a 12-hour walk. We celebrate survivors who have conquered cancer, we remember loved ones lost and we come together to fight back alongside those in the midst of their battle.”

Colleges across the country celebrate this event every year to raise awareness for cancer and to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Geneseo is just a small part of the fight against cancer, but this little college came together to make as big of a difference as possible. 

“I think college students and millennials get a bad rap for not caring about things, and for not being involved—but we raised $162,208.65 tonight, and we are so excited about that,” Relay For Life chair senior Heather Molzon said. “As college students, it is so important to make a difference—not only for this generation, but for the next generation. We have the power right now, and we have the motivation. It is important that we do this for the future.”

Many organizations on-campus fundraised, sold food, performed or did their own unique project to honor the cause. One of the organizations—the Geneseo men’s rugby team—had members who shaved their heads to raise awareness. 

“Obviously, the whole school does Relay For Life, so this is our little version of bringing Relay to rugby. We do it every year, a shave-a-thon,” psychology major junior Jonah Bremenkamp said. “This is our biggest fundraiser of the entire year. We raised a little over $200 for cancer research. We have as many people as possible shave their heads to bring awareness.” 

All the college’s population does their part to help in the Relay events each year. This says a lot about the community and how much Relay For Life means for the people at Geneseo. 

“I think this event is important because it is pretty much the biggest event on-campus. It’s the event that unites the most people under the same cause,” CAC entertainment co-chair senior Leila Sedigh said. “That is what we are really trying to do, bring people together, at the end of the day.” 

Cancer is such a real part of so many people’s lives, and it is important that people know the facts about it and realize just how important cancer awareness is, Rowan said. 

“We do this because one in three women and one in two men will hear the words ‘you have cancer’ in our lifetimes. SUNY Geneseo has approximately 5,000 undergraduate students enrolled at our campus and based on current statistics about 2,200 of those people will be told they have cancer. So that is why we think what we are doing is important,” Rowan said. 

“I relay for my mom who is a two-time Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer survivor,” Rowand continued. “I had the honor and privilege of walking the survivor lap with her for the third year at Geneseo.”

“It has given me such a sense of purpose and has helped me learn so many life skills. I interned at the American Cancer Society, so it just became a part of my college experience and I hope to continue this after college as well,” Molzon said.

Shout-out to the whole Geneseo campus for coming together and raising so much money and awareness for the on-going fight against cancer.