The early numbers are in, and Rider University’s annual Relay for Life was once again a rousing success. Fifty-six teams of more than 715 participants turned out to raise more than $50,000 for cancer research at on Saturday, April 6, on Rider’s Lawrenceville campus.
Teams were organized and entered by many Rider student organizations, including sports teams, Greek chapters, clubs, honor societies and individuals, with each entry conceiving a team name and shirt representing their contribution to the fight.
“I’m grateful for so many clubs and organizations that have reached out to me asking to be a part of this year’s Relay,” said Bridget Guardia ’14, an International Business and Marketing dual major, and this year’s Rider Relay for Life coordinator. “It’s wonderful to see how important Relay for Life has become to the Rider community.”
Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society’s signature event, gives everyone in the community a chance to participate in a truly remarkable cause. In doing so, participants have a chance to remember loved ones who have lost the battle to cancer, support those who are fighting it now and celebrate those who have conquered it.
This year’s theme was a festive “Luau,” and participants were supported by an appearance by Kathy Wakile of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Participants organize teams and walk around a track all night, with each team keeping at least one member on the track at all times during the night to symbolize the idea that “cancer never sleeps.
More than $40,000 was raised via the event’s website, www.relayforlife.org/rideruniversity, with more than $10,000 in additional cash donations generated at the all-night event. The total is expected to rise incrementally in the coming days, according to Dave Keenan, director of Campus Life and Recreation Programs.
At the opening ceremony, Ashley Pichardo ’12, a recent Rider graduate who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in October 2012, shared with the Relay participants her current journey with cancer. As a student, Pichardo was a student leader in the Rider Bonner Community Scholar Program and the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), as well as a sister of Lamba Theta Alpha, Latin Sorority, Inc.
Pichardo had just begun a full-time year of service with AmeriCorps with the Rider Bonner Scholar Program when she was diagnosed with AML. Since her diagnosis, she has had several rounds of induction chemotherapy, as well as a lifesaving bone marrow transplant, and is now on her way toward remission. You can learn more about journey through her blog at http://chillinwithcancer.blogspot.com/.
Rider’s Relay For Life has been recognized as the “Top Performing College Event in All of New Jersey” multiple times by the American Cancer Society at the at the Eastern Division Relay For Life Leadership Conference. The Eastern Division, based in Lawrenceville, includes colleges and universities from all of New Jersey and New York, including New York University and Ithaca University. For more information about Rider University’s Relay For Life, please visit www.relayforlife.org/rideruniversity.