I ‘heart’ Relay concert kicks off Relay for Life



By Meghan O'Kelly

Colleges Against Cancer kicked off its Relay for Life season this weekend with the “I ‘heart’ Relay” concert Friday night at Foellinger Auditorium.

“We just wanted a big turnout and for people to get excited for the events and learn more, and we think we accomplished that,” said Jeremy Rose, senior in LAS and Colleges Against Cancer Relay for Life co-chair. “We wanted to get people excited for Relay and educate others who didn’t know about it.”

The event was designed as a preview to Relay for Life, which is an overnight fundraiser for the American Cancer Society at the Track Grounds on April 18. Teams aim to have at least one member walking around the track all night, with games and events entertaining participants as well.

The concert featured performances from various campus groups, a survivor speaker and a luminaria ceremony, where small lanterns are dedicated to people directly affected by cancer. Rose said about 260 people were in attendance. Organizers said that many of the performers will also be performing at the campus’ seventh Annual Relay for Life.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done it,” said Chrissy Downing, junior in LAS and Colleges Against Cancer entertainment co-chair. “We want to start doing this every year, so we’re trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t work so we can make it better next year.”

The campus Relay for Life is one of the largest in the country, and the University is one of the schools that started Colleges Against Cancer, Rose said. This year’s goal is to raise $260,000, which is $10,000 more than what was raised last year. Members also hope to sign on 210 teams – six more than 2007.

“This was what we call the start of our Relay season and start our big push for the next three months,” said Michelle Misichko, senior in Business and Relay for Life co-chair.

Teams of eight to 15 people can sign up through April, and team captain meetings will be held in the meantime to keep teams on track to meet their fundraising goals.

“We have a database of last year’s teams, so we really try to get those teams and then some,” Rose said. “We pretty much go and try to publicize any way we can.”

Relay for Life is Colleges Against Cancer’s biggest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and serves as one of the organization’s four pillars. Other fundraising and awareness events throughout the year include the Great American Smokeout, an anti-smoking event, and a pancake breakfast.

“Both (the concert) and Relay are really positive ways to think about the fight against cancer,” Downing said. “You’re doing something good, but it’s also really fun.”