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Relay for Life imagines a world without cancer

Students participated in Relay for Life to raise money for cancer research. Rachel Steinhauser // The Miami Hurricane

Whether one decided to play a game of Plinko or a round of “Rock Band,” this past Saturday at Stanford Circle, they would be saving lives.

The University of Miami chapter of the American Cancer Society hosted its annual Relay for Life event this past weekend, bringing together students, faculty, administration and cancer survivors to unite against a common foe. This year, however, the executive committee made several changes that expanded the scope of the event.
“I think the general enthusiasm about Relay is different. Many more students are aware about what’s going on, and they’re really excited to be participating,” said senior Daniel Cristancho, one of the event’s co-chairs. “Because of their enthusiasm and their support, we’ve had an increase [in ability]for what we want to do. Participants almost doubled from last year, so I think that’s definitely been a help to us.”

Whether one decided to play a game of Plinko or a round of “Rock Band,” this past Saturday at Stanford Circle, they would be saving lives.The University of Miami chapter of the American Cancer Society hosted its annual Relay for Life event this past weekend, bringing together students, faculty, administration and cancer survivors to unite against a common foe. This year, however, the executive committee made several changes that expanded the scope of the event.“I think the general enthusiasm about Relay is different. Many more students are aware about what’s going on, and they’re really excited to be participating,” said senior Daniel Cristancho, one of the event’s co-chairs. “Because of their enthusiasm and their support, we’ve had an increase [in ability]for what we want to do. Participants almost doubled from last year, so I think that’s definitely been a help to us.”According to Relay for Life’s Web site, umiamirelay.org, 696 participants and 45 total teams were registered to participate in Saturday’s event. Teams included numerous organizations varying from residential colleges, to Greek organizations, to other clubs like the Association of Commuter Students and the Federation of Estudiantes Cubanos (FEC). Organizations sold food, drinks and chances to win prizes through various games for their portion of the fundraiser.

“We try to raise as much money as possible; we live in a huge building,” said sophomore David Grieser, a resident assistant at Hecht Residential College, who participated with their team. “Almost everyone is touched by cancer in some sort of way. It’s usually pretty easy to get everyone together and get everyone moving in the same direction.”

His team sold shirts with the team’s phrase: “Relay for Hecht, Relay for Life.” Additionally, they sold smoothies and “freeze pops” to help participants combat the sun.

“Last year we noticed that the cold stuff sold really well, so assuming it’s going to be a nice day, 85 and humid, you can charge a fair amount of money for a smoothie,” Grieser said.

The Relay for Life Committee hosted additional events that asked members of each team to meet in the middle of Stanford Circle including a relay race and an event-wide Twister competition.

“It’s not just a big fundraiser. It’s really about bringing everyone together,” Cristancho said. “It’s about supporting the people who are going through this disease.”

According to co-chair senior Kelley Norcini, the committee worked with the Department of Parking and Transportation and the City of Coral Gables to have the event hosted at Stanford Circle. The permitting process took about four months.

“The location is almost double of the size of last year, and we [had]it completely full,” Norcini said. “And that’s really exciting because it took a lot of work to get it there.”

The 2009 Relay for Life took place at the University Center patio.

“The [American Cancer Society’s] theme this year is to ‘imagine a world with more birthdays,’” Norcini said. “For us, we skewed it a little and our theme is ‘a world with no cancer.’”

Relay for Life had already raised approximately $33,000 by Friday night. The Committee hoped to surpass their goal of $60,000 to donate to the American Cancer Society.

Ramon Galiana may be contacted at rgaliana@themiamihurricane.com.


March 28, 2010

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Ramon Galiana

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