Colleges Against Cancer, a college-level affiliate of the American Cancer Society, surpassed it’s goal at its annual Relay for Life event on Saturday, March 21.
The group’s goal was $16,500. By around 1 a.m. the group had passed its by around $100.
Cassie Gibbs, a senior English major from Sweet Water and co-chair for Relay for Life, said that she was surprised and happy to have met the group’s goal.
“It was definitely a shock,” Gibbs said. “I was never expecting that to happen, but it did. I couldn’t have been prouder to have reached our goal and even raise over it. It’s a pretty phenomenal thing.”
This year was the first in many that Colleges Against Cancer had met its goal.
“I’m not sure how many years it’s been, but I do know that it has been a few since goal was met,” Gibbs said. “And while I’m happy that we did, I’m even happier that this money is going to a great organization and cause.”
This year’s theme was Spotlight on Hope. Teams were asked to select a movie to represent their teams at the event.
“We had Forrest Gump, Space Jam and Harry Potter, just to name a few,” Gibbs said. “Everyone had really great movie choices and really kept their table activities or food choices related to them.”
The morning of the event, the group held a pancake brunch at the Wesley Center on campus in honor of local cancer survivors.
Gibbs said that she hopes that the brunch becomes a tradition for Relay for Life in the future.
“While we raise money for the research of cancer and cancer treatments, we need to take the time to honor those who have had experience with it,” Gibbs said. “I think having a brunch to honor the cancer survivors was a great idea, and I hope that it continues after this.”
The event was held in Sartain Hall, where different organizations and teams participated in events such as giant Jenga and a frozen t-shirt contest.
“There were a few cool games this year,” Gibbs said. “We tried to plan a small number of big games so that the event could be fun and relaxed, and allow more time for the students to participate in any activities others were putting on.”
One big game was the Relay Idol competition, where students performed live for change.
“Performers were able to have a ‘money manager’ who would go around the room and ask for change, which counted as points. The winner received a gift card and other cool prizes.”
During the luminaria ceremony, which honors those who have passed from cancer, John Dudinsky spoke about his experience with cancer.
“He encouraged the students to be careful of how they take care of their skin in the sun,” Gibbs said. “I think it was definitely something we all needed to hear and be reminded of.”
At the end of the night Avalon Dudinsky, a junior biomedical sciences major from Panama City, won the highest individual fundraiser award with about $860 raised. Kappa Delta sorority raised about $4,600 and received the highest team fundraiser award.
Amber Voss, a senior political science major from Wetumpka, said that this year’s event was the best one she had experienced.
“I’ve been attending Relay at the University for four years now, and it was the best year yet,” Voss said. “Not only was my experience memorable, but teams were also enthusiastic to participate with our movie theme Spotlight on Hope. Forrest Gump even showed up.”
Gibbs said that she was happy about how the event turned out.
“The stories that were told and the speed with which we raised the money is incredible,” Gibbs said. “I am so thankful for the efforts of the committee, our staff partner, Joy Brigham, and all who participated. It was a truly great event.”