Hopkins hosted its annual Relay For Life, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, all night last Friday on Keyser Quad. Over 700 registered participants and many unregistered individuals took part in the event over the course of the night, and many student organizations showed their support for the cause. Various cancer survivors, both from Hopkins and the greater Baltimore community, attended and shared their stories.
The Hopkins community was able to raise $60,000 for the Relay For Life Team, which will go towards funding for the American Cancer Society.
The event consisted of three ceremonies; the Celebrate Ceremony, Remember Ceremony and Fight Back Ceremony.
The Celebrate Ceremony honored the cancer survivors and opened the event
after the survivors took the first lap around the track.
As a part of the Celebrate Ceremony, there were four speakers who talked about their experiences with cancer. A variety of speakers, from students who have battled cancer to older survivors from the Baltimore Community, addressed attendees. All of them expressed their appreciation for efforts, such as Relay for Life, and their hope for the future.
The Remember Ceremony, also known as the Luminaria ceremony, was a somber time of the evening, when everyone in attendance came together and remembered the reason for this event, and those that had lost their lives. The Fight Back Ceremony, the closing ceremony, was to remind everyone that there are always ways to support cancer patients.
There were paper lanterns, or luminara, all along the track, stretching from MSE to Gilman Hall. Each luminaria was in honor of someone who battled cancer. The bags were lit after hearing a cancer survivor share his or her story.
“My favorite part of Relay was the Luminaria ceremony where everyone comes together to honor and remember the people who have been touched by cancer. Everyone’s names of the cancer victims are put on a luminaria bag, and the whole quad lights up. It looked beautiful,” Paulina Munoz said, a freshman member of the Relay For Life Committee.
There were a variety of performances throughout the night, including the All Nighters, The Octopodes, The Vocal Chords, The Sirens, The Mental Notes, S.L.A.M. and many others.
“One of our favorite activities is the Miss Relay Pageant where guys from the teams dress up and have a beauty pageant. Whoever raises the most money is the new Miss Relay,” sophomore Rose Schrott said, who is the Co-Chair for the event.
“Personally, I think the worthiness of a cause like this is unparalleled. Too many people are being diagnosed with cancer from childhood to old age; the disease doesn’t discriminate. This is why it is truly so important for people to come together as a community at events like Relay For Life so we can raise money to support research and patient services, and one day find a cure,” Schrott said.
The all night event attracted members from the greater Baltimore community and a large turnout of students. In addition to the entertainment, there were a few fraternities that had booths to show their support for the cause. Phi Mu, SAE, Beta and Phi Delta Theta all were in attendance. Each booth was collecting money for the American Cancer Society. Phi Delta Theta used a dunk tank to raise money.
“The planning and organizing to get all of these groups coupled with all of the logistical tasks were probably the most challenging aspects of organizing the event, but we have a great committee that was able to tackle it all,” Schrott said.
The Relay For Life committee had been working on this event since the fall semester, as it was their biggest and most important event of the school year. The event ran smoothly, and all of the members were happy with the turnout.
“It was really great seeing everything come together after working all year towards this event. It was nice to see everyone come out and support the fight against cancer,” Munoz said.
A majority of the students said they enjoyed the night and would come back to this event next year.
“I would definitely go to relay in the future because it was so inspirational to see my fellow classmates as dedicated as I was to the cause,” freshman Megan Carney said.