Relay For Life Raises Over $300,000 to Fight Cancer
Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2011 17:04
More than 3,000 students rallied to the cry of "Cancer Never Sleeps" on Friday night, circling MultiSport Facility for 11 hours during the university's seventh annual Relay For Life.
The event, orchestrated entirely by students, was the culmination of months of fundraising efforts to benefit the American Cancer Society. With over $300,000 collected this year so far, Georgetown ranks as one of the top three fundraisers out of over 175 participating colleges across the country.
Each member of over 200 student teams was encouraged to solicit donations. A team of 31 freshmen residents of the fourth floor of Harbin Hall, the "Harbin 4 Lokos," raised over $25,000, making them the most successful collegiate team in the country this year.
In a new fundraising strategy this year, Relay For Life concentrated its efforts on the spring to avoid student burnout this year, according to Fundraising Chair Ryan Muldoon (COL '13).
David Hammerman (MSB '11), the transition chair, anticipates as much as $40,000 more to be raised this fundraising cycle, which would put Georgetown at over $1.75 million raised over its seven years of participating in Relay.
"This is very special and something for Georgetown to be proud of," Hammerman said.
Relay For Life began at 7 p.m. Friday, when several dozen cancer survivors in attendance took the honorary first lap around the MultiSport Facility. Each team was encouraged to always have at least one member walking throughout the event. At one point, all participants walked together in darkness to honor those lost to cancer.
Dozens of tents were pitched across the field to accommodate students who participated. About 300 students remained as the event closed at 6 a.m.
"This is Georgetown at its very best," said University President John J. DeGioia, who was in attendance.
"I can only say that this goes to the very heart of our university," he added. "Our Lombardi Cancer Center is one of the great cancer centers in the world. To see the integration of our undergraduate students engaged in this battle, while the university has been part of this work for so many years — to see all of those pieces come together is very special."
The Relay For Life organizers celebrated the student efforts with varied entertainment throughout the night. Student a cappella and dance groups performed, while several vendors, including the Georgetown University Grilling Society, sold food.
According to Muldoon, the event begins in daylight, goes through the night and ends with sunrise to mirror the stages of cancer — especially survivorship. Peggy Kidwell, who defeated breast cancer and has been involved with 13 years of Relays, was honored as the Survivor of the Year.
The 65 team members from Sigma Phi Epsilon were joined by Taylor Barnett (COL '08), who survived testicular cancer after being diagnosed during his Senior Week. Today, Barnett is studying medicine in part because of his experience with the disease.
"Everybody knows somebody who has been affected by cancer, whether it's a family member, a friend or themselves," he said. "It makes me want to study to learn how to be a better doctor. I've been given a gift, and I think it's a sign that I'm destined to do better things."