Relay for Life Raises $9,373 for American Cancer Society

Relay for Life is an organization and club at Sacred Heart University partnered with the American Cancer Society to raise money for cancer treatments and research. Relay for Life has worked to honor cancer survivors while also remembering the lives lost. The club recently hosted its annual Relay for Life event this past Sunday, March 24 located at the Bobby Valentine Health and Recreation Center.

An activity provided was designing luminary bags. According to the American Cancer Society website, “Luminarias honor every life touched by cancer. You can dedicate them to a loved one, someone currently battling, or anyone who overcomes it. When you attend a relay event you will see the luminaries decorated with names and sometimes messages towards the people they are dedicated to.”

Students at SHU relay for many different reasons.

“This is my second year as president of the club. I relay for my grandma and my dad who are both cancer survivors,” said senior and club president of Relay for Life Kayla Pereira. “I also relay in honor of my two uncles who have passed away from cancer.”

During the event, participants walked laps in honor of the people who have fought and have been affected by cancer.

“During the event a lot of people speak, and then we do three laps. One for survivors, another for healthcare workers, and lastly our luminaria walk,” said sophomore club member Briant Johnson.

Speeches were held before the survivor’s lap. These speeches involved club members’ stories about cancer and how it has affected their lives. This provided a chance to connect with individuals for the cause or who have had similar experiences with this disease in their lives.

Sophomore and member of Relay for Life, Aiden Guavain, talked about his battle and experiences with testicular cancer after being diagnosed his senior year of high school.

“I was lucky enough to have an excellent prognosis and after my surgery, I did not need any further treatment. This is definitely something that stuck with me mentally,” said Guavain. “One of the hardest parts of my experience was going to the Jimmy Fund Clinic, where I saw a ton of children fighting cancer.”

Senior and e-board member Carolina Lopez also spoke about her experiences with cancer in her family.

“Cancer has touched my life in many ways, more than I can wish. My father unfortunately lost his fight against non-Hodgkins’s lymphoma, as well as all four of my grandparents. This made cancer a big part of my life and why I relay,” said Lopez. “Being here today with you means helping hundreds of families who are suffering from the impacts of cancer whether that be financially or emotionally.”

Lopez also spoke about what sharing her story means to her.

“It is a little nerve-racking and hard to speak on an experience that caused a lot of pain in the past, but it is inspirational to hear everyone’s story, so I love doing it every year,” said Lopez.

According to the American Cancer Society website, Relay for Life has raised $6.8 billion nationwide since 1985. Throughout 2023 until the Relay for Life event this past Sunday, the club has raised $9,373.

“I am proud of everyone for all the money we raised. We’ve touched the lives of so many people,” said Pereira. “I hope this brings the Sacred Heart community even closer together in the future as the club and the event continues to grow.”

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