Written By: Olivia Sothoron
St. Mary’s College of Maryland’s (SMCM) chapter of Relay for Life works tirelessly throughout the year to raise money for their big event in February to donate to the American Cancer Society. This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved challenging to be able to host fundraising events in person, however, co-presidents Cady Gorsak (‘21) and Dianna Greene (‘22) have found ways to transition to online fundraising and are hosting events that follow social distancing protocols to adhere to the College’s guidelines.
Throughout the month of October, SMCM Relay for Life has provided numerous fundraising activities to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s research on cancer prevention. Gorsak explained that planning for the October events began at the beginning of the semester, and hosted a virtual kickoff event on Sept. 30.
Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Relay for Life Club worked to create fundraisers that align with this theme. One fundraising event which has been offered throughout the month of October is Tea for Ta-Tas. Participants can purchase hot chocolate, tea, baking kits and teaware from Sipology, and 20% of the proceeds will go towards SMCM Relay for Life. In addition, the club has also been advertising Boo-B Grams, which are bags full of candy that can be purchased through a Google Form for $2. The candy bags were picked up on Oct. 30 during the Pumpkin Decorating and Costume Contest.
Gorsak explained that she was most excited about the Pumpkin Decorating and Costume Contest because she loves fall and everything that has to do with pumpkins. Participants signed up and paid a fee of $8 to participate in person or $5 to participate virtually. The fees include the pumpkins as well as the decorating supplies. 30% of the proceeds will be donated to the winner of the pumpkin decorating contest, and the winner of the costume contest will be given a gift basket.
In order to maintain social distancing and COVID-19 protocols, Gorsak stated: “We adapted our guidelines by having three blocks for the event to limit the amount of people per each time slot, so for the Pumpkin Carving and Costume Contest. Each of the three time slots will last 40 minutes. Then we will provide hand sanitizer and have wipes to wipe down tables that are used throughout the event.”
The main Relay for Life event held in February will more than likely be virtual, explained Angela Draheim (‘03), who has been involved as a member of the SMCM Relay for Life committee for as long as it has been at the College. She explained that she first became involved in Relay for Life when her mother-in-law was associated with the event in Washington County, MD. Draheim’s life has been greatly impacted by cancer, so she is happy to participate and raise awareness and money for cancer research. She stated that SMCM Relay for Life has a fundraising goal of $15,000 for their main event. Draheim mentioned: “The American Cancer Society has predicted nearly a 50% drop in donations this year due to COVID-19 so it is more important than ever to support this worthy cause in any way possible to ensure the continuation of the critically important research and patient programs that are supported by RFL fundraising.”
As the fall semester is wrapping up, Gorsak, Draheim, Greene and club co-advisor Dean Joanne Goldwater look ahead to the spring semester and their main event in February. During these uncertain times in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to continue to raise awareness and money for cancer research to ensure that those suffering from cancer can continue to receive the proper treatment to ensure their recovery.