Rain and strong winds were not enough to deter students from attending Georgetown’s fourth annual Relay For Life this weekend, which could amass the highest fundraising amount among colleges and universities nationwide once the final numbers are tallied.
Nearly 3,000 participants comprising 205 teams attended the event from Friday into Saturday morning, despite less than ideal weather conditions. Based at MultiSport Facility, participants circled the makeshift track throughout the night to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
The Georgetown community has raised $332,127.13 to date, and event chair Megan Quail (COL ’10) said she hopes to hit the $400,000 mark, a sum that may top the nation’s colleges and universities, by the end of the fiscal year in August.
Cousins Sheila Reynolds (NHS ’10) and Suzanne Joyce (COL ’10) have been co-captains together for the past four years. This year, their relay team “Freshman 15” came out on top among teams, raising $19,711 for the ACS.
“Having lost family members very close to us motivates us to participate in Relay For Life year after year,” Reynolds said. “Being the captain of the top fundraising team is very special to us; our team members did unbelievable jobs raising money for the American Cancer Society.”
The pair’s Class of 2010 has witnessed the event evolve here since Georgetown’s first Relay For Life four years ago.
“I was very happy with Relay For Life this year. Each year has been different and wonderful in [its] own way, and it has been exciting to see the progression of the event since it started four years ago,” Reynolds said.
For Quail, the 12-hour event served to unite the campus against cancer. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001, and continues the battle today. She said she relays to take a stand against the disease and raise money for a cure.
“We take a full night’s sleep away from our busy schedules to symbolize that cancer never sleeps so neither will we,” Quail said. “I’m constantly amazed by the [unity] that comes along with our event, and Relay For Life of Georgetown is truly the biggest event on campus.”
Rachel Carrig (COL ’13), logistics committee member, signed up for Relay For Life knowing she wanted to be Georgetown’s top individual fundraiser. She succeeded by raising $10,345, and said she hopes to surpass that threshold next year and continue to raise money for a cure to a disease that has impacted her life.
“My mom passed away from breast cancer in 2005, when I was in eighth grade, and her sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2008, but luckily she is now in remission,” Carrig said. “So not only do I relay for them, but also for my future family, and that they will never have to live in fear of cancer affecting them.”
Relay For Life has come a long way since 1986 when the first Relay consisted of 19 teams and raised $33,000. According to the Relay For Life Web site, each year more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States along with additional communities in 20 other countries gather to take part in this global fight against cancer.
While raising over $300,000 is rare for universities, Hoyas do not seem to be surprised. Relay participant Michael Crouch (MSB ’13) said the magnitude of the event is characteristic of the philanthropic nature of the student body.
“We are Georgetown,” Crouch said. “This is what we do best.”