For the past four years, Rider students have done the extraordinary. Since its inception in 2009, Rider’s Relay for Life has raised more than $160,000 for the American Cancer Society and has become the biggest student-run event on the Lawrenceville campus. So it seems only fitting that organizers chose “Superheroes” for the theme for this year’s Relay for Life, which will be held from 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 24, through 8 a.m. on Sunday, March 25.
The Relay for Life Kickoff will be held on Wednesday, March 7, with a Superhero-themed lunch menu from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., in Daly Dining Hall. During that time, students will have the opportunity to learn more about the 2012 Relay.
Later that evening, Josh Sundquist, a cancer survivor and paralympic athlete, will speak during the Relay for Life Kickoff Presentation at 8:30 p.m. in Sweigart Auditorium. Sundquist, a member of the 2006 U.S. Paralympic Ski and U.S. Amputee Soccer teams, will talk about overcoming one’s disabilities and fighting cancer. The lecture is sponsored by the Lawrenceville Student Government Association Diversity Committee and by the Rider University Relay for Life Committee.
Lindsay Galbraith ’12, Relay for Life event chair, said the enthusiasm for this year’s Relay has been tremendous so far. Galbraith said several teams created names that fit the Superhero theme, including Hillel Heroes, Mission Possible, Residence Hulk Association, Rider Education Department “Super Teachers” and Team Flash. Organizers hope to raise more than $60,000 and attract 1,000 participants. So far, there are 649 participants, 59 teams and more than $16,600 raised.
“I think we will do well. We usually see a significant increase after spring break,” said Galbraith, adding that organizers are promoting on-site fundraising such as caricatures and silent auction baskets at this year’s Relay.
Last year, the Relay for Life committee generated enthusiasm leading up to the event by carrying a purple dry-erase board with the words “I Relay for…” around campus, asking students, faculty and staff to write why they participate in the American Cancer Society’s event. Participating individuals then had their photo taken while holding the board.
In order to generate the same enthusiasm, this year’s committee came up with another conversation piece. Galbraith bought a wooden chair, which she painted bright purple.
“We are taking the chair around campus and filming people sitting in the chair and talking about how cancer has affected them,” she explained. “It’s like the purple board, but amplified.”
The film, which will premiere at the 2012 Relay for Life, will focus on the American Cancer slogan, “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.”
“First, we are going to have survivors talk about how they won the fight. Then the “Remember” section will highlight students and other people on campus talking about a loved one lost. Then “Fight Back” is going to focus on the Relay event, including favorite parts of relay and the memorable ceremonies.”