On Friday, Feb. 28 St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) will host its 11th annual Relay for Life event from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. on the recreational courts located in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center. This event involves walking around a track to raise money for the American Cancer Society in researching cancer treatment as well as providing support for cancer patients and caregivers.
This year, SMCM’s chapter of Relay for Life is co-chaired by Victoria Chang (‘20) and Davita Fennell (‘20), and is advised by Director of Student Support Services, Joanne Goldwater. All members of the Relay for Life executive board have been working tirelessly since Spring 2019 to prepare for the 2020 event.
Chang has been participating in SMCM’s Relay for Life since her first year at the school. She helps to coordinate the activities and performances at the event, working hard to make sure that all participants have a good time while supporting a great cause. She remarked that their 2020 fundraising goal is to raise $18,000 for the American Cancer Society.
After registering, participants are asked to fundraise for the cause. The more money a participant raises, the more giveaways they receive. The goal for this year is for all participants to raise at least $100, which will earn them a free t-shirt. Aside from participants, cancer survivors are also greatly welcomed to attend. All survivors will receive a free t-shirt, regardless of how much money they fundraise, as well as be honored at a special dinner along with caregivers.
Participants are also encouraged to join up and create teams. Each team tries to raise the most amount of money through putting on performances and hosting activities throughout the night. For example, the SMCM Women’s Basketball team will be hosting a bake sale as well as a water pong table, where participants can donate to their team to participate in their activities. SMCM Rowing will be hosting a face painting station as well.
Some other activities include a karaoke station, raffles and a nerf gun activity where participants can “terminate the tumor.” Relay for Life will also feature performances from the SMCM Drum Corps, The Nightingale A cappella, Interchorus and the Hawkettes. The rock wall will also be open and available all night for the participants. The event will also feature “Jail and Bail,” which is an annual event where Public Safety officers are paid by students to have a friend arrested in a jail created for the event. There will also be plenty of variety of foods at the event, including vegan and vegetarian options.
Cady Gorsak (‘22), Relay for Life Secretary, participated in her first relay event last year and was inspired to become involved with the SMCM team. As the secretary, Gorsak works to finalize all paperwork for the event and coordinate fundraisers. She also is a member of a sub-committee called Team Retention, which works to recruit campus clubs and sports teams to participate in the event, providing them an opportunity to fundraise for their program as well as for the American Cancer Society.
Over the years, Chang has formed many memories through her work with the Relay for Life team. She noted, “One year I had my head shaved in front of everyone to raise money for Relay. I had hair down to my side so it was a very interesting experience!” Gorsak remarked that she is most looking forward to the luminaira event, during which luminarias are lit to honor lives touched by cancer. “I love this moment because it reminds me of why I got started with Relay and why Relay is so important to me,” explained Gorsak. She mentioned that “it is really powerful to be surrounded by darkness and silence, but have the room lit up with all the luminarias.”
To sign up for the Relay for Life event, one can search for SMCM on the Relay for Life website or they can use the link posted on Inside SMCM. Registration is $5 per person and will increase as the event draws nearer.