On Saturday, the annual Relay For Life at UC Davis celebrates its ninth year of fundraising and bringing the Davis community together to support the fight against cancer. Due to weather conditions, the event has been relocated to the ARC Pavilion.
The 24-hour fundraiser for the American Cancer Society celebrates survivors, remembers those lost to cancer and aims to fight back against the disease through research and funding for cancer patient programs.
“It’s a 24-hour fundraiser because cancer never sleeps, and neither do we,” said Relay For Life UC Davis Event Chair Katie Guglielmino. “Relay is only one day, and it probably doesn’t come close to fighting cancer, but it’s our way of signifying that we stand with and support all of the people who are fighting cancer and who have gone through that battle.”
This year’s event comes with exciting news, as UC Davis was awarded the “Thanks a Million Award” this past year. Since its founding in 2004, Relay For Life at UC Davis has raised over $1 million.
“We’re one of, if not the only, university in California who can say that,” said UC Davis Relay For Life Publicity Chair Megan Bradley.
Currently, this year’s relay has raised over $55,000, and Guglielmino expects that number to more than double by the time the fundraiser is over. Last year, Relay For Life at UC Davis raised over $120,000.
Participants in Relay For Life register individually and form teams of up to 15 people. At the event, each team has a team site set up around the track for the whole 24-hour period. Ideally, at least one member from each team is walking the track at all times.
“A lot of people are discouraged because they feel that it’s like an actual relay or running event, which it’s not. You’re just supposed to have one person on the track at all times for your team, to honor or remember those who’ve passed away. It’s really an event where you volunteer and you do what you can,”said UC Davis Relay For Life Growth Chair Korey Hlaudy.
The first lap of the event is specially saved to honor those who have won their battle against cancer.
“Survivor lap is the very first lap,” Hlaudy said. “In Davis it’s a smaller event, so you’ll have maybe 20 to 40 survivors who will walk the first lap. So that could be your professors, your friends, people you work with on student committees, who you weren’t aware of before of having cancer.”
UC Davis music and dance groups will provide entertainment during the 24-hour period. Zumba, yoga and kickboxing classes will also be offered throughout the event. In addition, teams will offer different goodies such as hot chocolate and massages as ways to raise more funds.
“Relay is just a really unique opportunity to really get to know people on a different level, because pretty much everyone has been touched by cancer in some way or another. It’s a way to celebrate, remember and fight back and go through all those emotions with it, and find the real community at Davis,” Bradley said.
Students can register online at relayforlife.org/ucdavisca or on the day of the event. Students can also register today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Memorial Union.
MICHELLE MURPHY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.