Tonight, a year of work by those involved with Relay For Life will come to fruition in an all-night celebration honoring cancer survivors and recognizing strides made toward finding a cure.

Relay For Life was first brought to Georgetown in 2006 in the organization’s largest inaugural collegiate event. Since then, the university has raised almost $1.9 million, and Georgetown has consistently been among the highest fundraising collegiate relays in the country.

This year, 155 teams made up of 1,712 participants will participate in Relay. Teams have collectively raised a total of about $185,000.

Last year, Relay had raised more than $300,000 by the time of the event. According to Co-chair DJ Wise (COL ’13), fundraising got off to a slow start this year.

“We have noticed that people have been waiting to fundraise until the end,” he said. “We want people to know that cancer does not wait. The more money we raise now, the more lives we save.”

Relay teams formed by student organizations are the event’s main source of fundraising. Hoya Blue is this year’s biggest fundraiser, having raised more than $12,000. The team’s captain, Rachel Carrig(COL ’13) ,is also the top individual fundraiser for the event with almost $8,000 raised.

Although the event occurs in the spring, Relay is a year-long process. Planning in the fall involves recruitment, publicity and meetings with representatives of university facilities, external relations and the Department of Public Safety.

“Right after Relay, we start planning for the next relay,” Wise said.

The university partners with organizations at other schools, focusing this year on a competition to raise more money than Syracuse University. Student groups, like the College Democrats and College Republicans, often challenge each other to fundraise as well.

All of the money raised for the event goes to the American Cancer Society. ACS then divides it into three categories — cancer research, caregiving for cancer patients and advocacy focusing on legislative action. Funds for caregiving go to support Hope Lodges, free hotels where cancer patients can stay if they have to travel for treatments. Georgetown’s Relay program visits a lodge in Baltimore a few times each year.

Relay For Life gets almost half of its funding through the President’s Office, Students of Georgetown, Inc., the Center for Social Justice and What’s After Dark. The American Cancer Society also helps to pay for the event.

According to Wise, Georgetown’s costs are half of what Relay programs in other parts of the country incur.

“The goal every time we have to take money is to turn that into more money. For every dollar we take, we want to turn that into two dollars to give back to Relay,” Co-Chair Ryan Muldoon (COL ’13) said.

According to organizers though, at the end of the day, success is not about the amount of money raised.

“Everything we do is mission-based. It is about making a difference in people’s lives and helping people to find the reason why they relay,” Matt Archambault (COL ’14), Relay For Life co-chair, said.

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