SMCM Relay for Life Raises $19,683 for the American Cancer Society

St. Mary’s College of Maryland held a Relay for Life event on March 4, with all proceeds benefiting the American Cancer Society to help “fight all types of cancer, for all types of people, in all types of communities around the globe,” according to its website. Senior Caitlin Schoen raised the most money of any individual registered for the event with $1,860. The team “Psyched for Life,” members of the Psychology department in memory of four faculty members who have been lost to cancer, raised the most money as a team at $4,489. Team “Champs for Chandler,” in memory of professor of English Kate Chandler raised the second most, with $2,896. The total amount of money raised by the event is $19,683.

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Relay for Life Wraps Up Successful Year

On Tuesday, April 17 the committee for Relay for Life at St. Mary’s College held a meeting to discuss what has been accomplished throughout the year in their fight against cancer.

For the recent Relay for Life event that was held on Feb. 11-12 in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center, the team managed to raise $32,086, despite their original goal of $42,000.

“We were a little under,” said the newly appointed Event Chair, sophomore Colleen Hughes, “but we still try to raise the bar every year.” She continued to say that $32,086 is still a very significant amount that can help a lot in the fight.

After the big event in February, the team that raised the most money was Residence Life with $5,017. The Crew Team also received acknowledgement, as they had a large portion of their members participate, leading them to split themselves into two different teams that both raised a lot of money.

The largest individual fundraisers were Associate Dean of Students and Director of Residence Life Joanne Goldwater with $2,175, junior Will Dyer with $1,331, and junior Madailein Harrigan with $1,035.

The weekend after the wrap up meeting, the Relay for Life committee held a booth at World Carnival where they were taking donations, doing hair wraps, streaking hair purple, and selling raffle tickets for $5 for a chance to win a new Mazda.

On April 26, they also took part in the Remembrance Day event that took place at the James P. Muldoon River Center to hand out information on grief counseling related to cancer.

On Wednesday, May 2, which is a Reading Day, the group will be hosting Midnight Munchies at 7 p.m. on the Lewis Quad patio to help raise money.

Through all of these activities, the committee, which is now headed by Hughes and first-year Teresa Padgett as Event Co-Chair, is hoping to make Relay for Life a better known group on campus.

To get involved with Relay for Life, students and staff can email Hughes at, or can attend any of the open meetings that will start back up next year. While they are always looking for people willing to be on different committees within Relay for Life (i.e. publicity, sponsorship, fundraising, mission and advocacy, etc.), they also are looking for anyone willing to join and lend a helping hand.

“Relay is a success because of all the people involved,” said Hughes, “from chairs of committees, staff sponsors, participants, donators, survivors, and caregivers!”

Relay For Life Returns to St. Mary's

On Saturday, Feb. 11, the St. Mary’s community gathered in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletic and Recreation Center (MPOARC) to show why they relay at the third Relay for Life event hosted at the college.

Relay for Life is a fundraiser event that benefits the American Cancer Society and fights against all types of cancer and honors those who have fought against it.

The event ran from 6 pm Saturday evening to 6 a.m. Sunday morning while participants of teams took turns walking around the track. The 19 teams included members of sports teams and clubs, academic departments, and various other groups on campus and from around the community.  Activities like water pong, a date auction, rock climbing, corn hole, zumba, get your picture taken with President Urgo in a funny hat, and a Newspaper Fashion Show were also included.

In total, as of Sunday, Feb. 12, the event raised $28,546 for the society.  The top teams, who raised over $3,000 for the cause, were Res Life and SMC A Capella Against Cancer, and the top individual participants were junior Will Dyer, Director of Residence Life Joanne Goldwater, and junior Madailein Harrigan, who all raised over $1,000.

Event co-chair and club president junior Elise Valkanas headed the event this year, after being involved in Relay for the past two years. Valkanas was captain of the Kicking Cancer team, which raised over $2,100 for the event.

“It’s amazing. It’s a great way for people to come together, and it’s for a great cause,” she said.

This year, Relay for Life was held two weeks earlier than usual, a change that Valkanas expressed concerned for, however, she still was pleased with the turnout.  “It was a little tougher to plan this year because it was crunch time after we got back from break.  Also, it was tougher to get people involved because [American Cancer Society] added a ten dollar fee for registration this year.”

Valkanas herself got involved with the organization after her best friend’s mother got cancer while they were in middle school.  She continued her involvement after the death of her friend’s mother in high school, and continued when she came to St. Mary’s.

Sophomore Anuli Duru attended the event, and was a part of the Swagged Out OLs team. “I went last year as well, and it’s always an amazing experience,” she said.  “It’s a lot of different types of people from the community that come out for the same cause.  It warms my heart to see the people there together that you usually don’t see together, whether it’s sports teams, or different clubs.” Duru participated in the date auction portion of the event.

Valkanas also mentioned that this year, the club also plans to hold smaller fundraisers once a month for the rest of the school year, similar to the “Midnight Munchies” fundraiser held last semester, when the club sold hot chocolate and grilled cheese sandwiches for one dollar each in the campus center.

The committee that organized the event along with Valkanas would love to keep the event going, and make it an annual event at St. Mary’s.

Relay for Life: Students Walk for Cure

Starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 and ending at 6 a.m. the next morning, Relay for Life gathered students, faculty, staff and community members together in the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center to honor those who have fought cancer and to raise awareness and money to continue the struggle to fight a disease that touches so many lives.

Relay for Life is a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society.

A “large portion” of the over $35, 500 raised during Relay for Life at St. Mary’s College “goes to help fund cancer research and programs in the area,” said sophomore Elise Valkanas, one of Relay for Life’s event co-chairs.

Throughout the night, participants continued to walk around the track that was marked out on the floor of the Recreational Courts; laps were also varied throughout Relay for Life, such as a Survivor lap, a Three-Legged lap, and  the Egg on Spoon lap.

Groups of individuals banded together to fund-raise before the 12-hour overnight event.

Some of these groups were sports teams, clubs, or academic departments, while others were just groups of friends who came out together to show their support.

Before the official event started, these individuals raised money any way they wanted to and during the event the groups also raised money in variety of ways.

For example, early in the evening, Public Safety sponsored the event, “Jail and Bail with PS.”

Anyone at the event could pay the Public Safety fund-raising team two dollars to “arrest” someone at in the room; those who had been arrested had to wait 10 minutes to be released or pay a $1 “bail.”

Other events included the Miss Relay Pageant (with prizes to the best-dressed, prettiest male part), a Water Pong Tournament, and a Cornhole Tournament.

There were several speakers as well, such as Associate Dean of Students Joanne Goldwater, whose battle with cancer has been covered in previous issues of The Point News.

The “Psyched for Life” fund-raising team was also selling raffle tickets for 30 minute massages at different points during the night,  as well as video games, and care cards in order to raise money.

Angela Draheim, Departmental Assistant in Psychology, was part of this group. She said she “rallied up our psychology department members and members of [her] family.”

“Cancer has really touched a lot of my family” Draheim said, “[this event] is a way for us to remember them and try to promote awareness for everyone else.”

Valkanas said over 320 people registered and many more came to the event; “We’re really pleased when people who don’t know much about the event come out.”

Another team came out and sold cake and cake balls to raise money. First-year Rachel Allen said Relay for Life was a “way to support other people.”

One of her teammates, first-year Sydney Coleman added, “one the girl’s stories made me tear up little bit.”

This 12-hour overnight event, which “signif[ies] that cancer doesn’t sleep,” said Valkanas, is being planned again for next February. “Our goal is to be bigger and better each year,” Valkanas said.

According to the Relay for Life website, the event was started in 1985 when a colorectal surgeon ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Since then the event has expanded and grown to include over 3.5 million participants across the country.

This Relay for Life at St. Mary’s College was the second time this event has been held, though last year, it was only a six hour event.

The R.F.L. Website said, “Relay … creates a sense of community by bringing people together in a moving and fun atmosphere, with sufficient time for cultivating relationships.

With every step you take, you are helping the American Cancer Society save lives. With your help, we aren’t just fighting one type of cancer – we’re fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community.

Each person who shares the Relay experience can take pride in knowing that they are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones or claim another year of anyone’s life.”


St. Mary’s Relay for Life Earns Thousands for Cancer Research

On Saturday, Mar. 27, the College held its very first Relay for Life Event in the recreation courts of the Michael P. O’Brien Athletics and Recreation Center. The event raised $18,593.08 for the American Cancer Society.

“[Relay for Life] is the largest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Usually it’s an all night event but we had a little mini event that lasted six hours,” said the Relay for Life event co-chair, first-year Elise Valkanas.

According to the American Cancer Society “Relay for Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.”

Senior Erika Kenny headed the Relay for Life event here at the College and began it here in honor of a friend who had passed away. “I wanted to have Relay for Life here in honor of my friend Nic. He died from cancer two years ago, just five days before his 21st birthday. It was so special for me to bring Relay for Life to St. Mary’s because Nic was accepted and planning to come here as a student, before he got really sick,” said Kinney.

The first St. Mary’s Relay was held indoors instead of in the traditional outdoor venue. After a lot of consideration, we decided on the six-hour mini-Relay mainly because we were in a time crunch. “ACS contacted me at the end of the fall semester, but we didn’t get started until we came back from winter break. The other committee members and I definitely had our work cut out for us with only three months of planning,” said Kinney. Not having enough time to plan seems to have definitely been a set back for the committee in organizing this event. “One of the big problems was the snow,” said online chair, sophomore Samantha White.

Part of the preparation for Relay was to find corporate sponsors, something that the girls on the committee found exceedingly hard, especially considering they had a limited amount of time to pull the event together. “[The] only main problem was getting corporate sponsors in such a short amount of time,” said Public Relations Chair, junior Alex Levy. In the end, The Relay for Life Committee was able to find corporate sponsorship from Dominos Pizza, Absolute Party Rental, Olive Garden, True Value, Wild Bird Centers of America, and Bon Appétit.
To keep participants busy and having fun, the Committee organized games and events for the Relay teams to partake in. “ [We wanted] to keep people moving for six hours in the gym and make it fun but also keep their minds on cancer,” said committee co-chair, first-year Olivia Marzano. The committee organized games, door prizes, and even a Miss Relay pageant. “The Miss Relay Pageant is where the guys dressed up as girls and in that we ended up raising $85.00,” said Levy.

Before the Relay began, there was a Luminaria Ceremony. Students, faculty, and community members were able to buy a Luminaria and have it lit at the ceremony. “This part of the ceremony is where you remember the people who’ve lost their battle with cancer or are fighting the battle against cancer,” said Luminaria Chair, first-year Kristin Hay.

Overall, the Relay brought out 22 teams and 170 participants. The top teams were Seahawks for a Cure, raising $3,584; TeamAlphaAwesomeCoolDynamiteWolfSquandron, raising $2,746; Psyched for Life, raising $2,440; Hawkettes, raising $1,871.72; LQ19, raising $1,856. The top individual earners were Chelsea McGlynn, raising $2117; Joanne Goldwater, raising $1,735; Samantha White, raising $1,032; Anina Tardif-Douglin, raising 1,000; Angie Draheim, raising $810. The committee fulfilled their goal of having sixteen teams and raising $15,000.
Next year the committee hopes to begin planning earlier and have a full 24-hour Relay. Students interested in being on the committee helping plan should contact Elise Valkanas or Olivia Marzano.

Students Organize College-sponsored Relay for Life

Cancer is a life-threatening disease that is responsible for one out of every four deaths in the United States each year. Despite an annual decrease in the cancer mortality rate, many still fall victim to it – last year alone, nearly 1,479,350 Americans were diagnosed with cancer.

This terrible disease, however,  also brings people together in the name of fighting it.  On March 27, 2010, from 6 p.m. to midnight, the College is sponsoring a Relay for Life event to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research. The event not only brings together those who have been affected by cancer, but also sparks strong hope for a cure.

The Relay for Life kick-off event, which was held on Jan. 26 at 9 p.m. in Goodpaster Hall, brought together St. Mary’s Relay for Life team captains and cancer survivors who are participating in the Relay for Life walk. During the kick-off event, two cancer patients and one cancer caretaker shared their stories to an attentive, emotional audience.

Frances Titus, a faculty member at St. Mary’s who has worked as a cancer caretaker, hopes to “find a cure…to bring awareness to the college community.” She believes that the Relay for Life event “is a good way for faculty, staff, and students to do something for a common cause.”

Senior Erika Kenny, the committee chair of the event, explained that despite St. Mary’s participation, students and faculty are not required to reach a goal by the American Cancer Society. However, those participating in the event “ultimately want to reach a goal of $15,000.” Funds are raised through donations made by individuals who donate to Relay for Life. One specific way is by donating to receive a luminary, which will displayed at the Relay for Life walk on March 27 with the names of family members or friends who have been affected by cancer. The walk is a way to remember and celebrate the fight against cancer, and luminaries can be purchased not only to remember a loved one, but also to celebrate a loved one’s successful battle.

Lauren Schlather, a sophomore at St. Mary’s and a cancer survivor, shared her story at the Relay for Life kick-off event. She said that her battle with cancer “has made [her] more thankful for everything.” Lauren is a Relay for Life team captain, and states that she hopes to “give back more because [she] realize[s] that people have been through similar or worse, and it helps to have someone to reach out to.” It is Lauren’s fifth year being a team captain. She believes that being on the Relay for Life committee is “a great way to get awareness for [cancer].” Lauren’s hope is to find a cure.

Luminaries can be purchased online at, and they can be dedicated in memory or in honor of a loved one. The suggested donation is $10.

The American Cancer Society, according to the group’s website, “is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service.” The organization provides funding for cancer research through several community-participating events, such as the Relay for Life Event, which is the main volunteer-driven fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) is the organization that runs Relay for Life events on college campuses across the nation.